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The Power of Social Movements: Examining the Thwarted Turkish Coup and Tahir Square.

5 pages
1125 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
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Chapter nine of the article talks about the thwarted Turkish coup and the packed Tahir Square and how power can be comprehended due to the weakness of new technology known to mobile people. As a writer, participants, and observers the most crucial thing is the social movement. The article also elaborates the nuanced trajectories of the recent protest and how they operate and form various demonstrations due to the difficulties of the persistence of long-term quests for change (Sauter, 2017). Tufekci also uses the story from a personal perspective combining with insightful analysis and ground interviews.

The author further shows how the internet assisted the Zapatista who began using Twitter to organize medical supplies in the Arab Springs when they discarded the bullhorns after they realized that it occupied the movement that began in New York. The author gave such details to complete the investigation movement of culture, technology, and authority to offer insights that would facilitate the future (Sauter, 2017). Zeynep Tufekci who is the author of the book is also a professor at the North Carolina University, and an opinion writer of the New York Times. She is also a faculty associate for internet and society at the Harvard Berkman Klein Centre.

A good example is Egypt's huge protest such as Tahrir. When Mubarak disconnected the cell-phone and internet communication in Egypt, it made all actions packed in Tahrir Square backfired. In other words, technology takes the automobiles to with multifaceted affordance to create new capabilities that as strong enough due to the advancement of technologies. Based on the studies done, it showed that censorship was used to send strong signals to the country to alert people are alerted on the. Research also showed that obesity is caused by less movement because many people have cars (Sauter, 2017). However, the author emphasizes that the relationship is not a cause and effect matter but the reduced usage of the vehicles. In other words, the dynamics of censorship while using the online platform needs to be maintained for it to operate smoothly.

A good example given by the authors is when she claimed that the more countries became more affluent, the newer diets are introduced. This means that when communication is cut between people at Tahrir Square and people at home, censorship became ineffective because there was no secret between the location and the existence of the protest. However, the act of censorship had a strong signal when it came to alerting people because were not aware of the threats posed by the government. When the author talked about information technology, she meant that the 'formal cause' which means a new layer had software that never consisted of any physical component plan. Instead, it had language that had a typical arrangement similar to how computers make computations.

A good example given was the iPhone and how it would not portray its name if it lacked the software known to be different from the rest (Sauter, 2017). A set instruction is then issued to the software to allow it to perform its algorithm which enables any changes to do all time. In a twist of this interpretation, technology is an aspect seen to have formal events. Digital technologies, for instance, are known to have past versions of information technology and communication whose purpose is to develop essential changes in the world of architecture. The article also elaborates how technologies have different potencies and efficiencies that coexist with the affordance of the multiple spectra. A good example the author used was how a baseball bat could be used as a murdering weapon and at the same time become an efficient tool for mass murder (Sauter, 2017). Therefore, with information technology, the question lies on the importance of the hardware and how it gives a base of the digital shaped affordance.

A mobile phone, for example, has hardware that is always connected that makes it easy to carry even though it has a different structure as compared to the desktop computers which must be within the building. The phone also has software and hardware that manipulates music and sound, make calculations take note but minus the software. Most commercial companies that can shape the digital platforms are also embedded with social, economic realities because their nations either have financial incentives or are influenced by the range of choices they implement or consider on their database (Sauter, 2017). As a result, the thoughts of the designs and the consequence had differences.

Twitter is an excellent example that had affordance mainly when it was introduced to the user after the company regulated the standard features. The affordances in twitter are also known to be open to user's re-appropriation and experimental. This means that it could take tools intended to find ways or do things in a different way such as 'hashtags' because they allow the users to congregate whenever a topic is raised. Hashtags are also used during a social movement to innovate the users instead of using the @ sign while signing in the users in the site (Sauter, 2017). The same features used on Twitter were first used in Internet Relay chat immediately Twitter was introduced into the platform.

When technologies develop, theories give the assumptions that new people will be bred. For instance, in the early days, the internet had speculations that made gender and race irrelevant. This is why the term 'Cyberspace' became a platform of free bodies that were rationally ruled and had full or ideas (Sauter, 2017). This related to the early statement John Perry Barlow when he created the term 'cyberspace Independence Declaration.' The internet, in this case, is not only a virtual world but also a mere replica that grew bigger and faster while offline. Regardless of whether an individual has internet or not digital technologies still attributes to how a person lives through the digital revolution due to various dynamics and forces of the pre-digital world (Sauter, 2017). However, technology contains structured powers because of the specifics of technology and the spectrum of affordance and the layers of casualty intermix and interact for one to have an understanding in the networked protest.


The article elaborates more on the questions that touch on the experiences of ground observations about the internet. The author did this by explaining how the internet played a role in Mexico and how Twitter had the power to organize medical supplies during the Arab springs. The author also shows the response of the government due to the rise of the digital tools and methods such as surveillance, distraction, and misinformation. The internet, in other words, is a tool that is powerful enough to change the lives of people.


Sauter, M. (2017). Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Journal of Communication,67(6). doi:10.1111/jcom.12331

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