(Cyber)Power to the People
Book Review: Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci • Yale University Press 2017 • 360 pages • $26
The vast potential and worrisome limitations of online organizing.
Zeynep Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, is a timely examination of this recent digital era of public protest. Moving through her analyses of the social behaviors and technological design that shapes the outcome of these movements, Tufekci provides readers with conceptual tools to examine the efficacy of twenty-first century demonstrations. She animates these analytical concepts with personal stories as well as interviews with activists who experienced these movements first-hand.
Twitter and Tear Gas explores how digital technologies can be incredibly powerful tools for organizing, while at the same time be disappointingly limited in their ability to enact enduring, institutional change that improves people’s economic and social conditions. The book is not about dismissing digitally networked protest, however, but rather about providing an analysis of this recent history in order to make sense of its capabilities and limitations within broader social and political contexts: