Small Change Malcolm Gladwell Analysis

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Like. Retweet. Follow. Reblog. All of these words have become a part of our everyday lives. As we sit behind the screens of our cell phones, laptops, and tablets, we have the power to reconnect with old friends, follow a political movement occurring halfway across the globe, or play Farmville. The opportunities social media supplies us with are endless. Never before has the world been so connected. This interconnectedness allows us to see and take part in events that take place all around the world. But how much of an impact can one person with a computer have? Not much, according to Malcolm Gladwell. In his essay “Small Change”, Malcolm Gladwell argues that the movements that occurred pre social media have longer lasting effects versus the…show more content…
However, it seems that personal connections shouldn’t really matter on social media. After all, the idea of movements in general is to get as many people involved as possible and leave the greatest footprint. That’s why it was worth mentioning how the Greensboro demonstrations grew from a few people, to hundreds, to thousands. Although the four students who began the protests had strong ties, the thousands who followed did not all have strong ties to each other. The fact that someone is your friend versus just an acquaintance is not what gets them to join the movement, it’s how the issue directly affects them. If you have 10 close friends and 1000 friends on Facebook, which could contribute more to a political movement? While the 10 may be your friends, they may not all share the same views on a particular issue. On the other hand, sharing the issue with 1000 people who, even though they’re not your closest friends, may have a personal connection to the movement in some other way and are more likely to join it. The network structure of social media that Gladwell cites as a disadvantage is actually an advantage in getting more people to become involved in…show more content…
To begin, we can analyze the Black Lives Matter movement using some of Gladwell’s key properties. It was not hierarchical in structure: no one was in charge nor was there a system of leadership. A majority of the movement was in the form of Twitter hashtags, which united many people across the country in a stance against police brutality and racial profiling. People used the power of Twitter to call out police officers and the excessive force they used in the same way people used the internet to find Evan’s phone. Sasha’s address was found as quickly as the address of the latest officer to be involved in an incident with an unarmed Black person. Because of the sheer size of social media, no amount of “strong-ties” or “personal connections” could have recreated the magnitude of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland these past few years. In fact, it is exactly because of the network structure of the Black Lives Matter movement that allowed it to reach so many people to get out and protests and create a national presence in news and media. For some, liking a page on Facebook may have just been the “thing they do when they are not motivated enough to be a real sacrifice”, but for such many more people it was more than liking a page. Because of the size of social networking,

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