Over the last few years we’ve been treated to a number of “Facebook revolutions,” from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to the squares of Istanbul, Kiev and Hong Kong, all fueled by social media. But once the smoke cleared, most of these revolutions failed to build any sustainable new political order, in part because as so many voices got amplified, consensus-building became impossible.
Question: Does it turn out that social media is better at breaking things than at making things?
Recently, an important voice answered this question with a big “ yes.” That voice was Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google employee whose anonymous Facebook page helped to launch the Tahrir Square revolution in early 2011 that toppled President Hosni Mubarak — but then failed to give birth to a true democratic alternative.
I am also reading Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up. An excellent discussion of the subject.
The Times article is shorter, more succinct, and more personal.