Twitter and Tear Gas

Donovan Green

Professor Wachanga

New Communication Technologies


Twitter and Tear Gas

In Zeynep Tufekci’s book Twitter and Tear Gas she goes in-depth as to how much the power has with the emergence of social media and its impacts on society in a major scale. The literature starts out with a brief flashback on how life was prior to the introduction of the internet, “Before the internet, broadcast mass media meant that millions could hear the same message all at once, but if you wanted your message heard, it helped if you owned or had access to a radio or television station or a newspaper. And so on” (Tufekci 6). As technology advanced so did the voice of the everyday citizen who wasn’t financially able to own a broadcasting station and their opinion was made public and could be heard through social media (more specifically Twitter). For example, the author provides a situation with an Egyptian lady named Sana who struggled talking to people about her political views cause she was constantly shunned by the public. In result, Twitter provided the escape from a judgemental society to a platform where she could freely express her thoughts and connect with like minded individuals. Furthermore, Tufekci argues that social media has been the source for many social movements including the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, arranging medical supplies during Arab Spring, and many more causes. However with great power comes great responsibility. Just as easy it is to use Twitter for a good cause like those mentioned, it can also be a dark place for racism, misogyny, and the organization of hate groups. Even today we see the power in Twitter as the President of the United States, Donald Trump, uses the site to make statements to the public. In conclusion, it is important to understand the power of one’s voice now especially since nearly everyone in the world has access to make their opinion known.

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