Tag Archives: Gladwell

Technology = BAD?

Gladwell has an eloquent way of saying that the big movements of the past have worked, in a way, better than the movements of today. In the past, we were forced to communicate with our mouths or body language rather than a simple email with no human emotion or interaction attached to it. This made the revolutions of the past more effective in getting their messages across.

Chiang, in the end, believed that technology helped others connect with one another using him, as an example in the story with his daughter. Chiang’s side of the argument showed how technology could help correct relationships leading to a better and fuller lifestyle.

Gladwell makes a good stance toward showing that technology leads to a less human interaction-filled world. To the extent where people will join groups or associations and have no clue whatsoever to what they just joined. During the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans were so in tune, so passionate about what they were trying to change and all of this was done without the use of social media technology like Facebook and Twitter. They joined huge organizations like NAACP and knew what they were enlisting themselves to do. Today’s society is the opposite. They have massive joins into groups and have no idea what they are joining. For example, the well-known ice bucket challenge has absolutely taken over the Facebook posts. The idea of the ice bucket challenge is wonderful and for a great cause but do the people who face the challenge even known what it is for? Many people don’t know that this challenge is for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. They do the challenge just for the fun or for the “likes” on Facebook. Gladwell opens another side of the technology and communication argument and shows that social technology doesn’t absolutely mean for the better.

The “Technology” Behind Social Networks

In Gladwell’s Small Change, the author talks about the pros and cons of social media networks and uses them to point out why a revolution could never be carried out based on a network. This reminded me of the passage in The Truth of Fact. The Truth of Feeling where Ted Chiang compares language to technology, and states that language in itself is actually a type of technology. Following this trend, social media networks would be a progression of language, for it is a new method of communication. Gladwell goes on to explain the reason behind the failure of social networks when it comes to something like a revolution: a lack of hierarchy, and this is where the two authors’ opinions are split. Chiang makes the statement that, “We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.” The fact that Chiang says we can become cyborgs proves that he believes in a sort of internet hierarchy where people who post, blog, or are very involved in networking hold the highest position. That makes sense, because if language is in fact technology, people are affected by it, and in order for people to be affected by it, it has to be available. Those who make it available, therefore, have control over how the readers are affected. In this way, a hierarchy does indeed exist when it comes to social networks. However, going back to Gladwell’s point, it would be nearly impossible to start of revolution through it, regardless of whether or not a hierarchy exists because there exists no authoritative, credible figure. As a result, it would be very difficult to unite a mass amount of people under a single cause because there would be too many differing opinions on the subject.