Social movements beyond Twitter: Zeynep Tufekci live at TEDGlobal 2014


TED Blog

Zeynep Tufekci speaking at TEDGlobal 2014. Zeynep Tufekci speaking at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

In 2011, a single email launched what became a worldwide movement calling out wealth inequality. Yet three years on, Occupy hasn’t delivered on its utopian promises. Why? In opening Session 2 at TEDGlobal 2014, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci talks about the shortcomings of social movements galvanized by social media.

To be sure, online networks have had a profound impact on social movements. Says Tufekci, both tear gas and Twitter were everywhere in Tahrir and Gezi. With mainstream media outlets censored by the government, as “editors sat in their newsrooms and waited for the government to tell them what to do,” citizens started to collect online, snapping photos of police brutality and government hypocrisy and posting them on Twitter. Watching subsequent movements in Ukraine, Hong Kong, Bahrain and Tunisia, social change itself seems to be going viral.

Yet for all these new tools for scaling…

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