First, the technology itself is not as important as the social conditions in which it is used. In many cases social media is more a means of communicating what is happening on the ground with the outside world, as diasporic populations keep in touch with their friends and family at home via Facebook and Twitter, than it is a means of organizing activity on the ground. If these social networks exist, families will communicate with them however they can, whether by usenet, fax machine, telegraph, or letter. The second point is that the mere existence of these technologies does not imply that people will necessarily make use of them in a particular way. Certainly there is a huge difference in how Twitter is used at the annual anthropology conferences and at an event like SXSW. And the third point is that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing for people to be fascinated by how this technology is being used in Egypt. Certainly it has allows us to voyeuristically participate in world events from afar.
Read the full post here.