Do you ever wonder how many people you reach by a simple “liking” of an article or just a picture on Facebook? Some are beginning to believe that social media is the newest of tools when it comes to activism. In the articles, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Reforming Egypt in 140 Characters?” by Dennis Baron, the authors seem to clear up a bit of confusion that is the world is misinterpreting. In Small Change, Gladwell believes that in order for there to be true activism, one must commit to making a true sacrifice. Gladwell uses a story of four local African American college students who stand up for their rights in a local dinner during the age of Martin Luther King Jr. In Reforming Egypt, Baron uses a modern example of the Egyptian Revolution which shows, even without social media available, people will continue to grow and fight for what they believe. Both of these articles suggest that social media does play an important role in today’s society. Although at times social media can be somewhat of a tool for Activist, activism still remains the same as in the past. True activism requires real sacrifice, meaningful relationships with people and a strong hierarchy.
When scrolling through a social media site we tend to notice the things that we are interested in and ignore the rest. We may like a page that is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness or that guy that’s an excellent stand-up comedian. The point is, we aren’t actually giving it that much of our time, let along our thought. In Small Change, Gladwell is also suggesting the same idea, “ Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do things that people would do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice.” (321) Activism is only successful when people come together to make a change in the world around them. If you compare your amount of actual friends on Facebook to the amount of acquaintances, most likely you will be in a bit of a shock. Both Gladwell and Baron suggest that social media is a good way to increase participation but not necessarily the new tool for activism. Relationships between people is the key to having a powerful impact on a cause. Unless something has effected people in some sort of a why, most likely they will not be active towards a cause. For example, if a person lost someone they care about to Breast Cancer, how do you think that person will react? This is how activism works, someone makes a point to fight for something they believe is right and others that are directly or indirectly involved will sure to follow. Gladwell uses this same example through the story of the four college students who showed up to order coffee at the dinner. This act wasn’t a spontaneous move, the four had planned in out in their rooms and one day the moment was just right. Similarly in Reforming Egypt, Baron shows how even without the internet people will still fight for a cause. “Crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square continued to grow during the five days that the Mubarak government shut down the internet...” (330) People didn’t just show up to the square by themselves. Others encouraged them, gave them inspiration and ultimately secured them