The power of social media — and its lack of inherent goodness

Shame on me, I still haven’t read Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion. But I just found this clip from Al Jazeera English’s The Stream from last September, in which the presenters give Morozov the space to reorient the conversation away from the not-very-useful debate about whether social media is good or not. Worth a watch.

Here, I think, is the heart of the matter:

So social media is a catalyst for democratization? asks the presenter (9:13), after Morozov acknowledges that it helped the protesters in Egypt. Morozov’s answer:

Of course [it’s a catalyst [for democratization]. It’s a catalyst for many other processes. And it may empower certain factions more than others. In some cases, depending on the existing political and social dynamics, it will favor the protesters. In others it will favor the autocrats. There’s nothing about social media itself that predetermines which side is going to win.

I like this guy.

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