On “Malcolm Gladwell Is #Wrong” by Maria Popova


Gladwell’s argument rests on two main ideas: first, that the social web is woven of what he calls “weak ties” between people, whereas activism is driven by “strong ties.

My problem with Gladwell’s first idea is this: Uberactivists who take up arms often become known as terrorists. The usual organisational structure of these terrorist groups, as far as I am aware, tends to be one of weak ties.
By organising in small groups with little point of contact between each, you limit the damage any time a member of one discrete group is “compromised”.
I learnt this when studying the Fenian movement from the 19th Century in Ireland.
I’m unsure where they learned their methods from, others may know, but I’m pretty sure other organisations of varying level of activism, violent or otherwise follow a similar model.
The activists are the drill after all, the item they are agitating against is the hole.

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