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Christina Ring
Professor Alan Reid
English 101
September 29th, 2015

Malcom Gladwells Small Change

Social media activism is inefficient, and its effects upon society are minimum for
advocating high-risk activism. Prevalent networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter
cannot provide any true activism in the society and create weak-ties. Hierarchies are
systems of strong and powerful networks that create true revolutions. Although networks
are effective tools for publicizing information, they are inefficient at creating systematic
change. Social networks may help to facilitate revolution, activism and social change
however; they are not meaningful in motivating people to make a real sacrifice for their
Some people may believe that social networks are particularly effective at
increasing motivation, but in reality, social media are communications channels, not
centralized leadership structures. Gladwell states, if youre taking on a powerful and
organized establishment you have to be a hierarchy. Discipline and strategy are crucial
parts of creating an organized central authority, and a leaderless organizational system
has no clear lines. Therefore, face-to-face communication and setting goals are difficult
to accomplish. When referring to social media Gladwell points out that They cant think
strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult
choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal

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say? Facebook and twitter are solely used for building networks; networks are the
opposite of an effective structure of hierarchies.
Technology and social media have the ability to reach out to lots of people in an
efficient, timely manner and spread to large amounts of people. However, it is hard to get
a unified and successful direct action through it. Previous revolutions such as the Civil
Rights Movement were successful because they were built on strong ties with people who
were prepared to go out and make a change, not just talk about it. Social media is a good
way for people to spread ideals and inspire change, but that does not mean they live up to
the standards of being a true activist. The marvels of communication technology in the
present have produced a false consciousness about the past-even a sense that
communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days
of television and the Internet states Gladwell. True activists are not just supporters of a
cause who hide behind screens and use hash tags, they are active in the real world and are
ready to fight for what they believe in.
In conclusion, while social media may make it easier for activists to spread
awareness and express their opinions efficiently, it gives people a false sense that they
have made a major difference and that the movement was successful. In reality, social
networking expression has little to no effect on the issue at hand. Gladwell points out that
it is simply a form of organizing which favors the weak-tie connections that give us
access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of
danger. Social media does not play a role in big scale revolutionary movements,
because it forms weak bonds between people and does not have an effective hierarchical

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Works Cited
Gladwell, Malcom. "Small Change - The New Yorker." The New Yorker. N.p., 29
Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.