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Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey Positive Social Change Essay

Everything is clearly attached in these files below and i need a proper 5 page essay and to be written with no grammatical errors and high diction language

Small Change I The New Yorker
Why the revolution will not be tweeted.
By Malcolm Gladwell
t four-thirty in the afternoon on Monday, February 1,1960, four college students
sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro,
North Carolina. They were freshmen at North Carolina A. &T., a black college a mile
or so away.
“Id like a cup of coffee, please,” one of the four, Ezell Blair, said to the waitress.
“We don’t serve Negroes here,” she replied.
The Woolworth’s lunch counter was a long L-shaped bar that could seat sixty-six
people, with a standup snack bar at one end. The seats were for whites. The snack bar
was for blacks. Another employee, a black woman who worked at the steam table,
approached the students and tried to warn them away. “You’re acting stupid, ignorant!”
she said. They didn’t move. Around five-thirty, the front doors to the store were locked.
The four still didn’t move. Finally, they left by a side door. Outside, a small crowd had
gathered, including a photographer from the Greensboro Record. “I’ll be back tomorrow
with A. &T. College,” one of the students said.
By next morning, the protest had grown to twenty-seven men and four women, most
from the same dormitory as the original four. The men were dressed in suits and ties.
The students had brought their schoolwork, and studied as they sat at the counter. On
Wednesday, students from Greensboro’s “Negro” secondary school, Dudley High, joined
in, and the number of protesters swelled to eighty. By Thursday, the protesters
numbered three hundred, including three white women, from the Greensboro campus
of the University of North Carolina. By Saturday, the sit-in had reached six hundred.
People spilled out onto the street. White teen-agers waved Confederate flags. Someone
threw a firecracker. At noon, the A. &T. football team arrived. “Here comes the
wrecking crew,” one of the white students shouted.*
https: / /www. newyorker, com/magazine/2010/ 10/04/small-change-malcolm- gladwell
Small Change I The New Yorker
By the following Monday, sit-ins had spread to Winston-Salem, twenty-five miles
away, and Durham, fifty miles away. The day after that, students at Fayetteville State
Teachers College and at Johnson C. Smith College, in Charlotte, joined in, followed on
Wednesday by students at St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University, in Raleigh. On
Thursday and Friday, the protest crossed state lines, surfacing in Hampton and
Portsmouth, Virginia, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee. By
the end of the month, there were sit-ins throughout the South, as far west as Texas. “I
asked every student I met what the first day of the sitdowns had been like on his
campus,” the political theorist Michael Walzer wrote in Dissent. “The answer was
always the same: ‘It was like a fever. Everyone wanted to go.’” Some seventy thousand
students eventually took part. Thousands were arrested and untold thousands more
radicalized. These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the
South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or
he world, we are told, is in the midst of a revolution. The new tools of social
media have reinvented social activism. With Facebook and Twitter and the like,
the traditional relationship between political authority and popular will has been
upended, making it easier for the powerless to collaborate, coordinate, and give voice to
their concerns. When ten thousand protesters took to the streets in Moldova in the
spring of2009 to protest against their country’s Communist government, the action
was dubbed the Twitter Revolution, because of the means by which the demonstrators
had been brought together. A few months after that, when student protests rocked
Tehran, the State Department took the unusual step of asking Twitter to suspend
scheduled maintenance of its Web site, because the Administration didn’t want such a
critical organizing tool out of service at the height of the demonstrations. “Without
Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up
for freedom and democracy,” Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, later
wrote, calling for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Where activists
were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools. Facebook
warriors go online to push for change. “You are the best hope for us all,” James K.
Glassman, a former senior State Department official, told a crowd of cyber activists at a
recent conference sponsored by Facebook, A.T. &T., Howcast, MTV, and Google.
Sites like Facebook, Glassman said, “give the U.S. a significant competitive advantage
over terrorists. Some time ago, I said that Al Qaeda was eating our lunch on the
https: 11 www. newyorker, com/ magazine/2010/10/04/ small-change-malcolm- gladwell
Small Change I The New Yorker
Internet/That is no longer the case. Al Qaeda is stuck in Web 1.0. The Internet is now
about interactivity and conversation.”
These are strong, and puzzling, claims. Why does it matter who is eating whose lunch
on the Internet? Are people who log on to their Facebook page really the best hope for
us all? As for Moldova’s so-called Twitter Revolution, Evgeny Morozov, a scholar at
Stanford who has been the most persistent of digital evangelism’s critics, points out that
Twitter had scant internal significance in Moldova, a country where very few Twitter
accounts exist. Nor does it seem to have been a revolution, not least because the protests
—as Anne Applebaum suggested in the Washington Post—may well have been a bit of
stagecraft cooked up by the government. (In a country paranoid about Romanian
revanchism, the protesters flew a Romanian flag over the Parliament building.) In the
Iranian case, meanwhile, the people tweeting about the demonstrations were almost all
in the West. “It is time to get Twitter’s role in the events in Iran right,” Golnaz
Esfandiari wrote, this past summer, in Foreign Policy. “Simply put: There was no Twitter
Revolution inside Iran.”The cadre of prominent bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan, who
championed the role of social media in Iran, Esfandiari continued, misunderstood the
situation. “Western journalists who couldn’t reach—or didn’t bother reaching?—people
on the ground in Iran simply scrolled through the English-language tweets post with
tag #iranelection,” she wrote. “Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people
trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than
Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. Innovators tend to be solipsists. They often
want to cram every stray fact and experience into their new model. As the historian
Robert Darnton has written, “The marvels of communication technology in the present
have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication
has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television
and the Internet.” But there is something else at work here, in the outsized enthusiasm
for social media. Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social
upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.
How Fortnite Captured Teen-age Minds
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Small Change I The New Yorker
reensboro in the early nineteen-sixties was the kind of place where racial
insubordination was routinely met with violence. The four students who first sat
down at the lunch counter were terrified. “I suppose if anyone had come up behind me
and yelled ‘Boo,’ I think I would have fallen off my seat,” one of them said later. On the
first day, the store manager notified the police chief, who immediately sent two officers
to the store. On the third day, a gang of white toughs showed up at the lunch counter
and stood ostentatiously behind the protesters, ominously muttering epithets such as
“burr-head nigger.” A local Ku Klux Klan leader made an appearance. On Saturday, as
tensions grew, someone called in a bomb threat, and the entire store had to be
The dangers were even clearer in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964,
another of the sentinel campaigns of the civil-rights movement. The Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee recruited hundreds of Northern, largely white
unpaid volunteers to run Freedom Schools, register black voters, and raise civil-rights
awareness in the Deep South. “No one should go anywhere alone, but certainly not in
an automobile and certainly not at night,” they were instructed. Within days of arriving
in Mississippi, three volunteers—Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew
Goodman—were kidnapped and killed, and, during the rest of the summer, thirtyhttps: / /www. newyorker, com/magazine/2010/ 10/04/small-change-malcolm- gladwell
SmallChangeIThe New Yorker
seven black churches were set on fire and dozens of safe houses were bombed;
volunteers were beaten, shot at, arrested, and trailed by pickup trucks full of armed men.
A quarter of those in the program dropped out. Activism that challenges the status quo
—that attacks deeply rooted problems—is not for the faint of heart.
What makes people capable of this kind of activism? The Stanford sociologist Doug
McAdam compared the Freedom Summer dropouts with the participants who stayed,
and discovered that the key difference wasn’t, as might be expected, ideological fervor.
“All of the applicants—participants and withdrawals alike—emerge as highly
committed, articulate supporters of the goals and values of the summer program,” he
concluded. What mattered more was an applicant’s degree of personal connection to
the civil-rights movement. All the volunteers were required to provide a list of personal
contacts—the people they wanted kept apprised of their activities—and participants
were far more likely than dropouts to have close friends who were also going to
Mississippi. High-risk activism, McAdam concluded, is a “strong-tie” phenomenon.
This pattern shows up again and again. One study of the Red Brigades, the Italian
terrorist group of the nineteen-seventies, found that seventy per cent of recruits had at
least one good friend already in the organization. The same is true of the men who
joined the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Even revolutionary actions that look
spontaneous, like the demonstrations in East Germany that led to the fall of the Berlin
Wall, are, at core, strong-tie phenomena. The opposition movement in East Germany
consisted of several hundred groups, each with roughly a dozen members. Each group
was in limited contact with the others: at the time, only thirteen per cent of East
Germans even had a phone. All they knew was that on Monday nights, outside St.
Nicholas Church in downtown Leipzig, people gathered to voice their anger at the
state. And the primary determinant of who showed up was “critical friends”—the more
friends you had who were critical of the regime the more likely you were to join the
So one crucial fact about the four freshmen at the Greensboro lunch counter—David
Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, and Joseph McNeil—was their relationship
with one another. McNeil was a roommate of Blair’s in A. ScT.’s Scott Hall dormitory.
Richmond roomed with McCain one floor up, and Blair, Richmond, and McCain had
all gone to Dudley High School. The four would smuggle beer into the dorm and talk
https: 11 www. newyorker, com/ magazine/2010/10/04/ small-change-malcolm- gladwell
Small Change I The New Yorker
late into the night in Blair and McNeil’s room. They would all have remembered the
murder of Emmett Till in 1955, the Montgomery bus boycott that same year, and the
showdown in Little Rock in 1957. It was McNeil who brought up the idea of a sit-in at
Woolworth’s. They’d discussed it for nearly a month. Then McNeil came into the dorm
room and asked the others if they were ready. There was a pause, and McCain said, in a
way that works only with people who talk late into the night with one another, “Are you
guys chicken or not?” Ezell Blair worked up the courage the next day to ask for a cup of
coffee because he was flanked by his roommate and two good friends from high school.
he kind of activism associated with social media isn’t like this at all. The platforms
of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being
followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently
managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise
be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on
Facebook, as you never could in real life.
This is in many ways a wonderful thing. There is strength in weak ties, as the
sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are
our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power
of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the
diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers
and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead
to high-risk activism.
In a new book called “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to
Use Social Media to Drive Social Change,” the business consultant Andy Smith and
the Stanford Business School professor Jennifer Aaker tell the story of Sameer Bhatia,
a young Silicon Valley entrepreneur who came down with acute myelogenous leukemia.
It’s a perfect illustration of social media’s strengths. Bhatia needed a bone-marrow
transplant, but he could not find a match among his relatives and friends. The odds
were best with a donor of his ethnicity, and there were few South Asians in the national
bone-marrow database. So Bhatia’s business partner sent out an e-mail explaining
Bhatia’s plight to more than four hundred of their acquaintances, who forwarded the email to their personal contacts; Facebook pages and YouTube videos were devoted to
https: 11 www. newyorker, com/ magazine/2010/10/04/ small-change-malcolm- gladwell
Small Change I The New Yorker
the Help Sameer campaign. Eventually, nearly twenty-five thousand new people were
registered in the bone-marrow database, and Bhatia found a match.
But how did the campaign get so many people to sign up? By not asking too much of
them. That’s the only way you can get someone you don’t really know to do something
on your behalf. You can get thousands of people to sign up for a donor registry, because
doing so is pretty easy. You have to send in a cheek swab and—in the highly unlikely
event that your bone marrow is a good match for someone in need—spend a few hours
at the hospital. Donating bone marrow isn’t a trivial matter. But it doesn’t involve
financial or personal risk; it doesn’t mean spending a summer being chased by armed
men in pickup trucks. It doesn’t require that you confront socially entrenched norms
and practices. In fact, it’s the kind of commitment that will bring only social
acknowledgment and praise.
The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe
that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor
registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated
lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “Social networks are particularly effective at
increasing motivation,” Aaker and Smith write. But that’s not true. Social networks are
effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that
participation requires. The Facebook page of the Save Darfur Coalition has 1,282,339
members, who have donated an average of nine cents apiece. The next biggest Darfur
charity on Facebook has 22,073 members, who have donated an average of thirty-five
cents. Help Save Darfur has 2,797 members, who have given, on average, fifteen cents.
A spokesperson for the Save Darfur Coalition told Newsweek, “We wouldn’t necessarily
gauge someone’s value to the advocacy movement based on what they’ve given. This is a
powerful mechanism to engage this critical population. They inform their community,
attend events, volunteer. It’s not something you can measure by looking at a ledger.” In
other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real
sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not
motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters
of Greensboro.
he students who joined the sit-ins across the South during the winter of 1960
described the movement as a “fever.” But the civil-rights movement was more like
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Small Change I The New Yorker
a military campaign than like a contagion. In the late nineteen-fifties, there had been
sixteen sit-ins in various cities throughout the South, fifteen of which were formally
organized by civil-rights organizations like the N.A.A.C.P. and core. Possible
locations for activism were scouted. Plans were drawn up. Movement activists held
training sessions and retreats for would-be protesters. The Greensboro Four were a
product of this groundwork: all were members of the N.A.A.C.P. Youth Council. They
had close ties with the head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. They had been briefed on
the earlier wave of sit-ins in Durham, and had been part of a series of movement
meetings in activist churches. When the sit-in movement spread from Greensboro
throughout the South, it did not spread indiscriminately. It spread to those cities which
had preexisting “movement centers”—a core of dedicated and trained activists ready to
turn the “fever” into action.
The civil-rights movement was high-risk activism. It was also, crucially, strategic
activism: a challenge to the establishment mounted with precision and discipline. The
N.A.A.C.P. was a centralized organization, run from New York according to highly
formalized operating procedures. At the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
Martin Luther King, Jr., was the unquestioned authority. At the center of the
movement was the black church, which had, as Aldon D. Morris points out in his
superb 1984 study, “The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement,” a carefully
demarcated division of labor, with various standing committees and disciplined groups.
“Each group was task-oriented and coordinated its activities through authority
structures,” Morris writes. “Individuals were held accountable for their assigned duties,
and important conflicts were resolved by the minister, who usually exercised ultimate
authority over the congregation.”
This is the second crucial distinction between traditional activism and its online
variant: social media are not about this kind of hierarchical organization. Facebook and
the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and
character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks
aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus,
and the ties that bind people to the group are loose.
This structure makes networks enormously resilient and adaptable in low-risk
situations. Wikipedia is a perfect example. It doesn’t have an editor, sitting in New
https: 11 www. newyorker, com/ magazine/2010/10/04/ small-chan…


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