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Twitter Devolutions

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Meanwhile, academics had a multitude of good reasons to believe that new media forms were enabling radically new forms of political organization and communication that just had to matter. And it did! The effects of social media in facilitating opposition organization and shaping the coverage of protests in the mainstream media may have been at the margins. But much of politics is often waged in those margins.

But even then, many of us saw the potential problems. What should we think about social media today, when the early enthusiasm for the "Facebook revolutions" feels somewhat quaint? What about the difficult politics that followed the rapid fall of Tunisia's Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali or Egypt's Hosni Mubarak? What about the complaints that the world was fooled by the prominence of seemingly liberal, Westernized "Facebook youth" in revolutions that actually empowered very different forces? Should social media take some of the blame for the political disasters that have followed? If the Internet can claim partial credit for the timing and nature of the Arab uprisings, should it also take partial blame for some of the more negative trends of the last two years?

Heck yes it deserves a lot of the blame!

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