post Conferinta perfecta: de vorba cu Malcolm Gladwell despre Twitter

September 30th, 2010

Insemnare despre: advertising,internet,social media,subiecte beton — clickio @ 8:06 am

Cand am scris zilele trecute ca audienta are rolul de a face o conferinta interesanta, unii, obisnuiti mai mult cu rolul de participant in audienta decat la pupitru, mi-au reprosat ca nu am dreptate, cu diverse argumente, usor asemanatoare cu sindromul paternalist al poporului roman post-decembrist (“sa ni se dea”).

Ei bine, The New Yorker si Malcolm Gladwell au demonstrat inca o data cat de important e rolul intrebarilor intr-o discutie. Putem considera articolul scris de Gladwell despre Twitter ca propria lui prezentare, la o conferinta globala (chiar daca lucreaza la o publicatie intitulata The New Yorker), iar chat-ul de aseara pe care il puteti regasi aici intr-o forma bruta si mai jos editat de mine a fost sesiunea de intrebari si raspunsuri.

Ok, asemanarea nu poate merge mai departe, pentru ca el a scris articolul cu cateva zile inainte, cititorii au avut timp sa-l parcurga de mai multe ori, si sesiunea de intrebari a durat o ora, ceea ce-ar fi de-a dreptul barbar la o conferinta locala.

Esenta articolului lui MG despre Twitter si social media, pentru cine n-a avut timp sau chef, este ca retelele sociale sunt bazate in principal pe relatii slabe, si au o structura descentralizata, ceea ce nu le permite sa creeze revolutii pe cont propriu, pentru ca revolutiile au nevoie de relatii stranse si de un sistem centralizat bine pus la punct.  Si autorul explica fiecare caz de “Twitter Revolution” inclusiv cel din Republica Moldova pentru a arata ca desi canalul asta a fost folosit pentru o legatura cu exteriorul(slaba si aia, pentru cine a urmarit evenimentele), Twitter nu a avut un rol decisiv in revolutia propriu-zisa (daca ii putem zice si revolutie protestului #pman).

Ei bine, pe baza acestui articol a inceput discutia de o ora, pe care o puteti urmari in mult mai putin timp integral aici, si din care va extrag mai jos cele mai interesante idei:

1. Malcolm Gladwell nu are cont de Twitter, cele care exista nu sunt create de el, autorul zice ca nu are timp si pentru asta, si scrie deja suficient prin alte locuri. Unii insa au ignorat raspunsul si au repetat intrebarea sub alte forme: “Why don’t you tweet more often?”:)

Malcolm Gladwell:
Life is too short. No, seriously, everyone has to determine what the best use of their time and energy is. I have many friends, who I respect, who tweet. I don’t, because I worry that the time I devoted to tweeting would take time away from things with more impact and permanence.

Malcolm Gladwell:
I have nothing against Twitter. And I’d use it if I had more time. . . Here’s the deeper issue for someone like me or, for that matter, anyone contemplating using tools like Twitter. What is it you want to accomplish? Do you want a broad audience? Or a deep audience? In other words, would you rather do the best possible job engaging with a small but focused audience. Or would you rather spend your marginal hour reaching a large audience on a superficial level? There are lot of situations where the latter is a reasonable choice–like if I’m selling something, or announcing an event, or sharing a small but crucial bit of information. But I’m interested in exploring ideas in depth with the (small) group of people willing to geek-out with me. That makes strategy A a better choice.

2. Fanii Twitter vor reprosa imediat, condescendent: Pai ce parere poate avea cineva care nu foloseste Twitter? Pleaca ma de-aici... Total gresit. Un ganditor liber ca Gladwell poate avea pareri mai pertinente despre Twitter decat un heavy-user fascinat de “social media” si care iti umple capul haotic cu informatii despre facilitatile Twitter fara sa inteleaga lucrurile importante in munca, viata si-n lume. Si daca cititi in continuare, o sa va convingeti.

Q:Do you think Twitter is good for ANYthing?

Malcolm Gladwell:
Is twitter good for anything? Sure. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the thoughts and activities and random observations of people who have a twitter account. That’s not a trivial accomplishment.

Q: Sites like AOL and Myspace have come and gone, my question is, what do you think Facebook and Twitter will become in the future? And do you think the next big “networking” site will have the power to facilitate social activism, or is this medium simply too distant to be effective?

Malcolm Gladwell:
I honestly have no idea what Facebook and Twitter will look like down the road–and nor does anyone else. The essential fact of the internet is that nothing is permanent. AOL was once the king of online–remember? I doubt that anything that is done electronically will facilitate social activism all that much–at least not unless you’ve put a real world structure in place first.

Q: What role can Twitter plan in helping ensure the future of newspapers and magazines?

Malcolm Gladwell:
Twitter will save newspapers once newspapers become capable of telling their stories in 140 characters. Embarassed

Q: Hi, Malcolm. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to discuss social media. I’m in the information technology profession, so this usage of the Internet is highly valuable. I was curious how you felt about how social media is affecting people and their actual attachment to political issues. You discuss how Facebook and Twitter increase participation, but I feel as if it allows many users to simply get a very birds-eye view of issues, and they lack fundamental details, and thus causes them to never get the “big picture”.

Malcolm Gladwell:
I would agree, at least in part. What Twitter and Facebook are capable of doing is introducing a very large group of people to a subject or an issue. The hard part is getting them to go beyond that introduction and dig in deeper–and that leap requires some additional form of social engagement. The Obama election campaign did a very good job of doing both–augmenting social media tools with old-school grass roots organizing. To me, that’s the gold standard.

Q:You wrote in your article that social media traditionally do not ask much of people–that they are great at getting superficial involvement, not at driving social movements. Is the issue that social media *can’t* or *hasn’t* done this? In other words, is it possible for social media to drive meaningful social change?

Malcolm Gladwell:
I don’t see it frankly. Not unless (as I wrote earlier) it is married to some kind of traditional grass roots organization. The basic problem is that there are certain kinds of relationships that are only possible face to face. Its like asking–do you think it is possible for marriages to ever become entirely virtual? Well, no–not unless we considerably water down our definition of a marriage.

Q:The crux of your argument seems to be that online activism is based on weak ties and decentralization. Aren’t there examples, though, of organizations “casting a net” on facebook/twitter/etc. in order to bring them into more traditional hierarchical organization? The example that springs to mind is, but I’m wondering what other examples you’ve come across.

Malcolm Gladwell:
Absolutely. See my comment previously. In combination with grass roots work, it can be a very useful tool.

Q: Hello, I really enjoyed your article and I think a lot of the critics seemed to miss the point (weak-ties, strong-ties). What do you think of the criticism?

Malcolm Gladwell:
I’ve actually been impressed by the seriousness with which many social media activists have addressed my arguments. One of the (many) strengths of the digital movement is its intellectual sophistication. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to have this kind of argument with them.

Buun, pe mine m-a convins. Stie, dom’le! In acelasi timp, el ridica o problema serioasa. Unii din evanghelistii internetului si ai tehnologiei sunt atat de imbatati de aburii propriilor convingeri despre internet si tehnologie incat au impresia ca pot rezolva orice cu ajutorul acestora doua. Evanghelistii au rolul lor important in a unge rotitele evolutiei, insa trebuie sa fim rationali atunci cand ii ascultam:) Unul din ei si reuseste sa-l enerveze putin:)

Q:What do you think of Scvngr’s attempt to “build a game layer on top of the world,” recently profiled in the NYTimes and in a TedTalk? His thesis is that the last decade was the decade of building a social framework, and this decade will be for using “game dynamics” to normatively influence behavior within the already constructed social framework.

Malcolm Gladwell:
Oy. Save me. This is what drives me crazy about the digerati. They refuse to accept the fact that there is a class of social problems for which there is no technological solution. Look. Technology is going to solve the energy problem. I”m convinced of it. Technology is going to give me a computer in ten years time that will fly me to the moon. Technology is going to build a car that goes 100 miles to the gallon. But technology does not and cannot change the underlying dynamics of “human” problems: it doesn’t make it easier to love or motivate or dream or convince.

Si pe final, inca doua intrebari/comentarii care au dus discutia in doua puncte importante: actiune vs reactiune, si reach versus atentie (desi nu se ocupa cu publicitatea, Malcolm vede aici o problema pe care n-o vad multi specialisti din industrie)

Q: Without completely oversimplifying your argument/article, is the fundamental difference between Twitter/Facebook/social networking and revolution akin to reaction versus action? The revolution you wrote about required real effort and actual presence, while social networking is more about reacting to ideas put out by someone (anyone) and doesn’t really ask the target audience to get involved beyond retweeting or pressing the thumb’s up icon on a page.

Malcolm Gladwell:
Nicely put!

Q:Speaking of structure, how do we –”the collective”– return to sustainable social activism and change if so frequently distracted by the random ponderings and information streams of FB, IN, Twit et al?

Malcolm Gladwell:
Good question. I like the way you reframe the issue in terms of attention. Surely the issue in our day and age is not reaching people with a mesasge. It’s getting them to focus on the message. We’ve taken enormous strides in improving the first of those. But maybe, along the way, gone backwards on the second of those challenges.

La final, va las cu doua raspunsuri amuzante, la doua intrebari care si-au meritat-o:)

Q:Is 140 characters sufficient to convey their message? How can we as social activists convey our message in 140 characters?
Malcolm Gladwell:
That was 119 characters. You have 21 left.

Q:Why do you think people get so defensive when Twitter is criticised?

Malcolm Gladwell:
Wierd, isn’t it? Do you think it would make matters worse if I admitted that I also hate the iphone?

Genial. A fost o conferinta geniala de o ora, in care noi, poporul, i-am luat interviu lui Malcolm Gladwell, ganditor, scriitor si publicist la The New Yorker. Sper ca v-a placut modul in care am reasezat intrebarile si am subliniat esentialul. Ei bine, toate acestea n-ar fi fost posibile fara o audienta direct si acut interesata sa dezvolte subiectul deschis de MG. Asta vreau de la voi, cititorii si ascultatorii mei, la prezentarile mele :)

Nu am mai avut ocazia sa primesc raspuns intrebarea mea, insa ma bucur ca am avut multi colegi de discutie mai inteligenti ca mine si cu ajutorul lor conferinta asta a fost cea mai tare discutie despre social media pe care am avut-o de mult timp.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ionut Oprea, Ionut Oprea, Ionut Oprea, Daramus Ovidiu, Ioan Nicut and others. Ioan Nicut said: RT @clickio: Adevarul despre Twitter si Facebook, in viziunea lui Malcolm Gladwell PLS RT!!! [...]

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  3. Sorry, I don’t understand Romanian — but you missed my comment / his (non-) answer.



    Romanian to English translation ( )

    When I wrote the other day that the audience is meant to be an interesting conference, some more familiar role of participant in the audience than at the desk, I complained that I am wrong, with different arguments, closely related to the syndrome of paternal post-revolutionary Romanian people (“to give us”).

    Well, Malcolm Gladwell The New Yorker and have demonstrated once again how important is the role of questions in a discussion. We consider article Gladwell wrote about Twitter that his own presentation at a global conference (even if they work in a publication called The New Yorker), and chat last night that you can find here in a crude form below and was edited by me questions and answers.

    Ok, the resemblance does not go away so he wrote the article a few days before, readers have time to go through it several times, and questions session lasted one hour, which would be the at a local conference barbaric.

    Essence MG’s article about Twitter and social media, for whom he did not have time or feel, is that social networks are based mainly on poor relations, and have a decentralized structure, which allows them to create self-revolution, because Revolutions need strong relationships and a centralized system well tuned. And each case the author explains the “Twitter Revolution” including the Republic of Moldova to show that although the channel that was used for a link with the outside (low and that, for those who watched the events), Twitter has a decisive role in revolution itself (if we can say # Square protest and revolution).

    Well, on the basis of this article started talking for an hour, you can watch whole lot less time here, and below which will extract the most interesting ideas:

    1. Malcolm Gladwell has no Twitter account, those that exist are not created by him, the author says he has no time for this and other places already write enough. Some people have repeatedly ignored the question and answer in other forms: “Why do not you tweet more Often?”)

    2. Twitter fans will immediately reproach, condescending: Well what can anyone say that is not using Twitter? Get me out of here … Wrong. A free thinker that Gladwell may have opinions about Twitter more relevant than a heavy-user fascinated by “social media” and who fills your head with information about facilities Twitter chaotic without understanding what’s important in work-life and the world. And if you read on, you’ll be convinced.

    Buun, I convinced myself. He knows, sir! At the same time, it raises a serious problem. Some of the Internet and technology evangelists are so drunk with the fumes of their own beliefs about the Internet and technology that they think can solve everything with the help of these two. Evangelists have their important role to grease the wheels in evolution, but we must be rational when you hear:) And one of them and manages to annoy him a little:)

    And finally, two more questions / comments that led discussion in two important ways: action vs. reaction, and reach versus attention (though it deals with advertising, Malcolm sees here a problem that many industry specialists see no)

    In the end, leave you with two funny answers to two questions that have earned it:)

    Awesome. It was a brilliant one-hour conference, we, the people I interviewed Malcolm Gladwell, thinker, writer and publisher of The New Yorker. I hope you liked the way I relocated and I have stressed the essential questions. Well, all this would have been possible without a live audience and acutely interested in developing open subject MG. That I want from you, my readers and listeners to my presentation:)

    I have not had the opportunity to get my question answered, but I’m glad I had many colleagues for discussion smarter than me and with their help that the conference was the best conversation about social media that I had for a long time.

    Comment by Norbert Mayer-Wittmann — September 30, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  4. Hello, Norbert. Very funny translation, I have to hand it to Google Translate :) )

    What I think MG was trying to actually say through his non-answer was that maybe it’s not such an important thing to try and construct a definition for today’s social media since it’s evolving at such a great pace, and that it’s more useful to focus on its effects of some observable part of it, such as Twitter and Facebook :)

    Comment by clickio — September 30, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  5. Anyway, Norbert, don’t feel left out, I only took out a few of the Q&As in order to prove some points of my own.

    Comment by clickio — September 30, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  6. That’s incredible — in a quite *literal* sense… do you also do palm readings and/or astrological predictions?

    If the term is in fact meaningless, reading or writing or talking about it is a waste of time, energy, money,… — whatever.

    If you’re willing to try to define it, I’d be glad to take a look at any definition you might come up with (perhaps not ad infinitum, but at least once ;)

    Comment by Norbert Mayer-Wittmann — September 30, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  7. [...] Citește articolul lui Ionuț despre conferință. [...]

    Pingback by Conferinta online de calitate cu Malcolm Gladwell | Titus Blog — September 30, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  8. Da, mi-a placut modul in care “ai reasezat intrebarile si ai subliniat esentialul.” Felicitari ! :-)
    Tot pe aceiasi lungime de unda am impresia ca subiectele ridicate de MG lipsesc in mare masura din orice dezbatere romaneasca. Care tinde sa discute doar de cum fac bani pe facebook si altele conexe ?

    Sau in urmatoarea prezenta a lui Ionut Oprea la o conferinta de genul asta o sa vedem o “altfel de” prezentare.

    Comment by Bogdan — September 30, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  9. cat de curand va trebui sa-mi fac si eu twitter din asta. pe majoritatea blogurilor se discuta foarte des pe acest subiect, iar eu nu fac decat sa dau X, sa ies, pentru ca habar nu am cu ce se mananca

    Comment by daniel rus — October 1, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

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