by Zoë Pollock
Aaron Bady draws out an interesting angle to the social media aspect of the Arab Spring;
[I]nstead of the personality cult by which Presidents-for-life like Ben Ali and Mubarak have ruled for decades, the masses of nameless Cairenes and Tunisians—assembled on Facebook and in the street—represents a kind of anti-personality cult. When everyone is "Khaled Said" (or "Mohamed Bouazizi" in Tunisia), after all, the story being told is not only that the nation is united, but that it is united by the common experience of having suffered at the hands of the state. In this sense, instead of "leaderless revolutions," perhaps we might think about how Facebook helped facilitate a "revolution of leaderlessness"?…
In other words, what Gladwell flags as a weakness of social media—the difficulty of producing strong commitment to a single idea or plan—might actually be what makes it uniquely valuable. By uniting around the crimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, the much more difficult political question of what kind of government was to succeed him could be deferred until later.
(Image via Arrested Motion)