This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
Jon Elster has a four-phase theory of revolutions:
1: A hard-core of committed activists get together to do something completely crazy.
2: The regime cracks down, attracting people who are sympathetic to the cause to rally to the support of the crazy ones.
3: As the protests grow, it seems like they might have a reasonable chance of succeeding and it seems worth it even for just normal reasonable people to start joining in.
4: The protests become so overwhelmingly large that even their opponents pretend to be part of them, so as not to be on the wrong side of history.
The problem is that you never get to 3 and 4 without 1 and 2 — I don’t think it’s a total accident that all of these protests are happening now. I think they’re happening because 1 and 2 have been made much easier thanks to the Internet. It’s just that most people don’t hear about them until steps 3 and 4, which are carried much more by traditional media. They suffer from the understandable fallacy that just because they heard about it on TV, that must be how everyone else did.