"This is not to say that social networks don’t matter; they matter a lot. But they do not incarnate freedom, do not bring about some final, heaven-like stage of human history. Indeed, if there was a proximate cause, on the order of Connors’ “10 folks in a small apartment using social networks,” to the Tunisian uprising, it was that least virtual of political acts—the decision of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in the central Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid who burned himself to death in protest over the police seizing his cart and the produce he was trying to sell, and, more generally, over police brutality and grinding unemployment, poverty, and lack of opportunity. That was the action that provoked the first anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia and soon spawned other self-immolations from Egypt to Mauritania."
In our opinion this article, though interesting, misses the key points. Few serious people believe that new technology on the web will create a paradise of freedom. Maybe Assange and a few members of related groups.
But social networks on line and on mobile devices provide an ideal, cheap, agile means for communication. Just as the printing press was an essential pre-condition for the emergence of the Protestant Reformation, the American and French Revolution, and the emergence of Capitalism and Parliamentary Democracy; historians in 1,000 years time will see the emergence of the Internet as an essential pre-condition for the kind of social rearrangements that are happening now.
For good for or for bad.