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Madrid: Facebook vs. "the neighborhoods"

Granted, PBS, and in English, but still interesting:

However, Basel Ramsis, a 37-year-old Egyptian filmmaker living in Madrid, suggested that Facebook and Twitter [#180] are not as reliable as people believe, calling Facebook's ability to actually gather people "weak" after less than five people showed up for a recent demonstration he attended in the city of Granada. Ramsis, who was in Tahrir during the Egyptian revolution, and has been in Puerta del Sol nearly every day since May 15, added that "Facebook and Twitter have very important roles. They make people aware, but they do not make people attend demonstrations."

This is the "weak ties" position.

Ramsis believes the public discussions that occur at the heart of the Spanish movement, the citizen assemblies, cannot happen on social networking. "It happens when people are in the street, not online."*

In the next stage of the movement, called Toma los Barrios, or "Take the Neighborhoods," less focus will be on large encampments like Sol. Instead, smaller popular assemblies [#174] will meet (and are already meeting) in neighborhoods all across Spain.

Tellez learned of an upcoming assembly in her neighborhood from a poster [#8] attached to a street pole close to her apartment, not from an announcement on Facebook. Although she attended protests in Sol that were announced on Facebook, she said it's now more likely that she'll attend an assembly in her neighborhood. Tellez explained that she's inundated by posts and invites on Facebook. She said that now, a paper sign hanging up in her neighborhood better captures her attention, and makes her believe her opinion truly does matter.

This is my experience locally, although I don't live in or even near a big city.

So, I wonder how the neighborhood assemblies are going. Readers?

NOTE * However, maybe "the street" is not the appropriate locale.

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Facebook and Twitter are important only insofar as they are means of transmission. In that respect, they're two means among many.

Honestly, we got more use out of Twitter than the Egyptians did during their Revolution. Twitter was less about them organizing themselves and more about them letting us know what was happening. It was about reaching the audience that Arundhati Roy says is necessary for nonviolence to be effective. Means of transmission are important, and the more you have the better, but as is being said, they don't get things done by themselves.