Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology, has been quoted extensively in coverage of current events in Tunisia and Egypt. In a National Post interview on Tunisia’s revolution, she argued, “social media enabled the revolting citizens [in] Tunisia to bypass censored state media and talk to each other,” but she also recognized “social media is not a magical tool that guarantees that a popular uprising will succeed. It is just one variable among many that determine the outcome of social protests.”
In a PRI interview, Jillian York of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, referenced an argument made on Tufekci’s blog, Technosociology, that calling the protests in Tunisia and Egypt “Twitter revolutions” or “Facebook revolutions” gets at how those technologies enable action by enabling communication, but it is also too simplistic. Tufekci’s analysis on Technosociology was also picked up by a GigaOM writer in the New York Times and by the Wall Street Journal in “Tunisia and Cyber-Utopia: Would Facebook Have Ended the Cold War Earlier?” last week. A subsequent essay, “As Egypt Shuts off the Net: Seven Theses on Dictator’s Dilemma,” was picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog.
Tufekci continues to appear in the press on other issues as well. In “When my kids unplugged,” an excerpted essay on Salon from Susan Maushart’s “The Winter of Our Disconnect,” she suggests that social media are making us more accountable for our actions, and preserving anonymity online may increasingly be an issue.