There's no such thing as 'social media revolution'

If activists using Twitter go on to topple a government, the real story should be that the government got toppled, not that the revolution was tweeted.
Written by Caroline McCarthy, Contributor

There seems to be a contingent out there that analyzes each of the globe's various political conflicts and attempts to figure out, through plenty of speculation and the occasional Wikipedia look-ups of far-flung sovereignties, which uprising will mark the first true "social media revolution."

A dictator toppled by Twitter or ousted through the efforts of a Facebook group? It's an enticing idea, particularly for those who are in the business of social media and have a personal stake of sorts in tallying each instance of social media's global value making headlines. Twitter punditry this week has been peppered with speculation about whether upheaval in Tunisia or the subsequent anti-government protests in Egypt might amount to the "first" true revolution spawned by social media. But this just isn't the right way to measure things: the occurrence of a "social media revolution," at this point, should be neither noteworthy nor remarkable. If a dictator is overthrown or a government ousted, it would be notable if Facebook or Twitter weren't used.

That's because social media is a part of the world we live in and has become such a crucial form of communication that it will factor into any political movement nearly anywhere in the world. In other words, the use of Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube should not be what's worth talking about. At this point, it takes away from the substance of the revolution (or lack thereof) itself.

For more on this story, read on CNET News.

Editorial standards