It’d be unkind (and inaccurate) to attribute today’s moribund (Brumaire-esque?) state of affairs from Tunisia up through Syria to Tweets, txts (SMS for the Euro-oriented) Facebook, etc. Just as it was hyperbole to claim these technological ephemera “caused” the civil uprisings originally. We’ve gone over that debate here before.
Dave Parry in Democracy writes: Social Media. Good For Revolution. Bad For Democracy. Asking the question one sees his conclusion. Still a fun read.
Our only qubble? The notion that social media it turns out isn’t very good for revolution, either. Aside from large mass emotional symbolic gestures, social media has yet to prove itself capable of more. (We don’t count NATO using people to Tweet for targets). It’s instructive that the amorphous and ground-based Egyptian opposition is calling for everyone “to start over at the beginning.”
Parry arguably arrives that the same point by another route. A confirmed Realist and long time supporter of Area Studies, naturally we would urge caution drawing on analogies from various situations around the world. Each social dynamic is its own. Events so far? Not looking so good. Somebody should tweet about that.