Gladwell and Gopnik

Topics: Twitter, Facebook, Social media Pages: 5 (1872 words) Published: November 21, 2011
    With America’s history of people fighting for their rights, we have become accustomed to the idea that activism needs to be extreme; to cause riots, have aggression, and for people to be put in jail to make a point. We have created an image that there needs to be a fierce willingness to fight, in order for activism to be effective. As Malcolm Gladwell describes in “Why the Revolution Should not be Tweeted”, he reminds us of what ‘real’ activism is and how other generations have risked their lives to make a difference, in both their lives and the future of America. He does not think that activists can be considered true activists if they are non-violent when protesting for their rights. However, Gladwell should consider that protesting is a process that doesn’t start off as being violent and aggressive. The first stages of a successful protest involve acknowledging the problem. In the other text, “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli”, Adam Gopnik claims that technology pushes people apart because of a "busy-ness" affect that it creates. What he does not realize is that he used technology as a resource to help him become a more understanding father. After recognizing a problem with his daughter and her imaginary friend, he reaches out to his sister, a developmental psychologist, through phone calls and emails. While it does keep us too busy sometimes, social media has benefits to it. It is a tool that can be used to exchange information, teach its users, and continually raise awareness. Once our generation is able to realize the benefits of social media and use it to its advantage while minimizing its cons, it can prove to Gladwell that tweeting, or Facebook-ing isn’t useless. It is a tool that has the potential to bring activism to another level.  The idea that social media has a weak tie to activism should be reconsidered since social media was created to bring their users together. One person cannot work alone with any big task.

For example, Gopnik, who willingly gave himself the task to understand why his daughter's imaginary friend always left her. He realized that he needed help, and his sister, a developmental psychologist seemed to be the best person to answer his questions. “I emailed my sister for help with the Ravioli issue-how concerned should we be?- and she sent me back an email, along with an attachment, and, after several failed cell phone connections, we at last spoke on a land line. (Gopnik 154)” Here Gopnik reached out for a helping hand; in return through the use technology, he was able to get in contact with his sister and was able to get information from her from California to New York. Through email and telephone they were able to talk to one another from across the country. Their conversation is significant enough to prove that through the easy access of a telephone Gopnik and his sister were able to eventually reach a conclusion to what the problem was. If he had not reached to his sister, who was not only family but a professional it would have taken him longer to answer his own question himself. He would have to research for this information manually, either through the internet or even the library. The Facebook and Twitter features also have similar features as phone calls and emails in which they are able to send messages quickly but it’s greatest feature is that it is able to access a larger group than just one person. The reason is because Facebook and Twitter are made public to its users to network and become more familiar with our acquaintances.  The sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed and stated that “Our acquaintances- not our friends- are our greatest source of new ideas and information (Gladwell 137).” The more acquaintance’s we get means the more people to help give new ideas, opinions and even observations about…anything really. Even though Gopnik’s sister was a family member, Granovetter would agree that through their electronic communication they were able to...
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