Caught up with my Google reader today, here are a few gems that glittered from the list of articles.
From the NYTimes: “Egypt is a reminder not to be suckered into the narrative that a place is stable because it is static.”
I’ve followed this debate between Malcolm Gladwell and others about whether social networks haved received disproportional credit for their role in fuel revolutions. I’ve particularly enjoyed Brian Solis’ response to Gladwell’s skepticism:
“Trufecki and Ingram are on to something, but they — and Gladwell — miss something very basic about the nature of Twitter and other social tools, something critical to revolution. Ideas spread more rapidly in densely connected social networks. So tools that increase the density of social connection are instrumental to the changes that spread.”
While the social networks are not creating revolutions, they create contexts in which conversations and connections occur which amplify revolution. Clay Shirky’s and Malcolm Gladwell’s debate this point in further depth following Shirky’s Foreign Affair’s article.
Gladwell offers: “What evidence is there that social revolutions in the pre-Internet era suffered from a lack of cutting-edge communications and organizational tools? In other words, did social media solve a problem that actually needed solving? Shirky does a good job of showing how some recent protests have used the tools of social media. But for his argument to be anything close to persuasive, he has to convince readers that in the absence of social media, those uprisings would not have been possible.”
To whick Shirky responds:
“So I would break Gladwell’s question of whether social media solved a problem that actually needed solving into two parts: Do social media allow insurgents to adopt new strategies? And have those strategies ever been crucial? Here, the historical record of the last decade is unambiguous: yes, and yes.”
In lighter reading news, David Edelstein’s review of Justin Bieber is a brilliantly written social commentary, here’s a highlight: “I find him such a bland, pious, profoundly unthreatening little Furby of a pop idol, but little girls’ celebrity crushes are not to be trifled with. And this sensationally engineered promo film makes Justin Bieber look like a true force of nature.”
The smack down of the weeks come in the form of this statement about Nokia’s engineers, ready? “The engineers at Nokia brag about the number of megapixels a new phone has,” he said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “But they don’t understand that if you can’t find the button to use the camera on the phone, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels it is.” Ouch.
As far as thought provoking, TechCrunch’s Jon Evan’s delivers a powerful piece called, “The End of History, Part II.” Here’s a highlight: “The Internet—in this case, though I hate to adm” it it, Facebook—lets oppressed people join in outrage, in shared fury and humiliation, in the sense of being part of a single mass of people with a single intent. Where else can you get that, in a blindfolded, fragmented nation?”