Zeynep Tufekci, Sociology, in the News

Continuing her string of recent media appearances, Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology, was featured on TV Ontario, discussing the role of social media in Egypt and Tunisia with anchor Steve Paikin on current affairs program “The Agenda.” Tufekci argued that social media is not a “magic wand,” but social media can function as an important catalyst for revolutionary events by enabling people to form counterpublics and communicate with one another.

Steve and Cokie Roberts’ current column “Tweets, Not Tanks,” describes how “communication systems are value neutral” themselves, but people utilizing new communication technologies can “shake the foundations of autocratic rule.” In the article, Tufekci says that although social media “is not a magical tool,” it can “puncture the bubble dictators create around themselves.” The power of social media as a communication mechanism was evident, she says, in how it “enabled the revolting citizens of Tunisia to bypass censored state media and talk to each other.” The column appears in newspapers around the country this week.

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