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Responses to Malcom Gladwell’s social media article

Malcom Gladwell’s New Yorker piece about his skepticism of social media’s role in social change has brought out the heavyweights, and in the past few days there’s been some really great writing about the idea. Anil Dash, in particular, raises the point that the actions of the Maker community are actually political, even though it usually just looks like they’re having fun.

We have had an enormous and concerted act of social disobedience play out over the past half-decade, where millions have decided that the present regime of intellectual property law and corporate control over the way we communicate is no longer tenable. So, every day, with the click of a button, people from all walks of life are ignoring the law and protesting in public, simply by uploading content to YouTube or Facebook or anywhere else.

Eric Harvey responds to Dash’s piece with some skepticism of his own, saying that maybe these things shouldn’t be described as a “revolution,” but rather “something that middle-class people with lots of spare time on their hands and a healthy disregard for corporations do.”

Lots of smart stuff coming out, and I expect to see more. Regardless of the ability of social media to produce social change, it sure is a good way to disseminate writing about itself.