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Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest Kindle Edition
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|Length: 361 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Equally your sociology skills bring vital insights about how social media have become part of the world-wide political story, especially for protest movements. You document and catalog how protests can be formed quickly, without the long process of capacity development that was manifest in the civil rights movement. At the same time you make it painfully clear that many of these rapidly assembled protest movements just can’t sustain their efforts, adapt their tactics, or accept the idea of leadership structures, and therefore often fail to achieve their goals. Your nifty theorizing comes across clearly, e.g. signaling and the way that movements need to build their narrative, disruptive, and electoral/political capabilities. This was a helpful guide to understanding what happened, including how governments are able to crack down on leaders.
Your technology skills also brought insights in your descriptions of the differing affordances for each social media platform, making it clear why Twitter became the platform of choice for protest movements – suitable balance of anonymity/reputation, easy access, and appropriate openness. Your stories of abuses on Reddit and other platforms provide valuable lessons about what needs to be fixed.
The opening chapter was more difficult reading, with too many long complex sentences and fewer of the colorful stories.
I was pleased to see the warm appreciation for Dean Gary Marchionini – I’m pleased he was so supportive to you.
Overall, an important and vital book, filled with insights and compelling stories that stick in my mind.
Three areas of the book really stand out to me: her observations and anecdotes about how today's platforms enable very small groups of people to drive large movements very quickly; the advantages and disadvantages these movements have because they are generally consensually led rather than hierarchical, and the close relationship between users, the corporations of the social platforms they use, and their interaction with the nation-states in which they operate.
Tufecki also advances the capacities and signals model for how these networks operate. There I think she might have done somewhat better --- or perhaps I lost the thread of her argument, as my background is more technical than sociological. The model seems sound (although I am not qualified to dispute it), but could have been called out more clearly in some ways from her relating of specific observations and trends. To her credit, she does a good job of summarizing the model in both the introduction and conclusion. This may be a weak point to the academic reader, although I imagine her model is --- or will be --- better-covered in her writing targeted specifically at that audience.
The material she presents is accessible to anyone, but I think has special value for three groups of people: those attempting to implement change using today's networked mediums, those studying trends and developments in Internet culture, and those working on Internet technologies that should be aware that their work has real social consequences that are difficult to foresee in advance.
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