Evolving Trends in Social Media Mining
Rachel Kliger

I love Phil and his work. But there are some premises that I think work in some instances and not others, and Pax Technica gives a promise of an idealized, diffused internet where anything has the potential to happen — good or bad, but in the cases he’s making, mostly good. I’m intrigued that you thought his book was the most “social scientific” — it’s another way of doing social science, mostly qualitative with some analysis of social media to support what he is saying. But the internet is not all things; you can’t study just the internet to understand social change and make a claim that it caused social change; there’s a wider, bigger world that goes beyond what happens online. And the idea that minds can be changed and governments can be replaced (as well as organizing facilitated) breaks down when you think about change over time. My favorite article about this is by Zeynep Tufecki -you should read her for some good counterpoints/balanced messaging because she is hopeful but she has also arc-ed (I’m spelling that wrong) — now she is far more skeptical than she was when she began — he’s her ted talk


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