Chapter 7 starts with a fake campaign, which used Facebook to mobilize Copenhagen residents against a non-existent threat to the city’s Stork Fountain. He also discusses an effective online mobilizing effort against FARC in Columbia. From there, he moves to Kierkegaard’s disdain of what he saw as modernity’s corrupting effects on man’s ability to live authentic, committed (and risky) lives, and Kurt Vonnegut’s cynical view of “meaningless” associations (including, interestingly, the Communist Party).
In short, Morozov posits that the ease with which people can express positive feelings for causes – and then be done with it – has a corrosive influence on actual, effective activism. He also bemoans amount of overinformation and misinformation that the Internet facilitates, which can lead to confusion and thus a necessarily shallow commitment.
However, Morozov seems to romanticize the dissidents of the past – Gandhi, Sakharov, Havel, even Castro – who put their lives on the line to create change, inspire others, and faced physical consequences. He says there’s “no such thing as virtual politics” and that tried and true forms of organizing are being overlooked – with real change being sacrificed.
Questions for discussion:
1) Do you agree that using online social networking to advance causes leads to a more shallow commitment and less actual mobilization? Are there examples in your life or networks where you’ve seen that phenomenon – or where you’ve seen the opposite?
2) Can online communication lead to *better* physical activism? Particularly in the West, it even thinkable to have effective movements *without* an effective online presence?
2) Morozov asks “what comes next?” after a group or cause has gathered enough online signatures, Facebook fans, or retweets. What are some practical suggestions you have for ways online communities and NGOs can achieve their goals via the Internet? What are some obstacles you’ve found?
Chapter 1 – The Google Doctrine
Chapter 2 – Texting Like It’s 1989
Chapter 3 – Orwell’s Favorite Lolcat
Chapter 4 – Censors and Sensibilities
Chapter 5 – Hugo Chavez Would Like to Welcome You to the Spinternet
Chapter 6 – Why the KGB Wants You to Join Facebook
Chapter 7 – Why Kierkegaard Hates Slacktivism
Chapter 8 – Open Networks, Narrow Minds
Chapter 9 – Internet Freedoms and Their Consequences
Chapter 10 – Making History (More Than a Browser Menu)
Chapter 11 – The Wicked Fix