Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Tufekci, Zeynep. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017, 325.


The advent of internet and social media has changed the nature of connectivity and state of affairs across the globe. The highly interconnected societies turned out as an engine of global change and innovation that not only transformed the institutions, ranging from giant conglomerates to micro entrepreneurs but also altered the basic definitions of personal choices and values. Humankind is not only witnessing a technological transition but also a historic revolution in the fields of politics, civics, culture, society and structures of protest movements. It is a beginning of a new era where the connectivity through social media is playing a key role in modern uprisings against the authoritarian regimes.

With this background, Zeynep Tufekci explored the major transformations brought about in the course of social movements by the new digital technologies in her book, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. She used Capacities and Signals theory to examine the role of social media in shaping the three basic components of protest movements i.e., making a movement, tools of protestors and aftermath of protest. A human being possesses certain capacities and the actions he performs are basically the signals of those capacities. Similarly, all social movements possess certain set of capacities and signal these capacities in the form of protests, marches, occupations, sit-ins, rallies etc. These signals derive their power from what else the activists can do like massive disruption, institutional change etc.

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