Originally published: October 12, 2010
Last updated: October 12, 2010 - 2:49pm
"Laughable," "absurd," "ludicrous" and "pointless" were words Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone used to describe a recent Malcolm Gladwell story in the New Yorker about the futility of social media to create real social change.
Stone said he could see validity in Gladwell's point that effecting meaningful and sustained social change requires strong relationships and hierarchical structure. But he added, "The real-time exchange of information — a service like Twitter — it would be absurd to think it's not complementary to activism. When it really comes down to it, it's not going to be technology that's going to be the agent of change. It's going to be people; it's going to be humanity. "Anyone who's claiming that sending a tweet by itself is activism, that's ludicrous — but no one's claiming that, at least no one that's credible," said Williams.
"If you can't organize you can't activate," Williams said, criticizing Gladwell for at one point conflating the editability of Wikipedia with Twitter. "I thought [the article] was entertaining but kind of pointless."
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