A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges. To understand a thwarted Turkish coup, an anti–Wall Street encampment, and a packed Tahrir Square, we must first comprehend the power and the weaknesses of using new technologies to mobilize large numbers of people. An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change. 

Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. She describes how the internet helped the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the necessity of remote Twitter users to organize medical supplies during Arab Spring, the refusal to use bullhorns in the Occupy Movement that started in New York, and the empowering effect of tear gas in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.

Why we chose this book: In the last few months, with social isolation, technology has become an essential tool for communication. Globally there have also been many protests, where people continue to gather in large groups to stand up for their rights and beliefs. Through stories and narrative Twitter and Tear Gas explores the dynamics of protest that is mediated by various technologies. 

Food for Thought: 

1. How have cell phones with text, photo and video capabilities changed protests?

2. What impact does gathering quickly have on the development of social movements?

3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using social media to organize protest movements? 

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