University of Maryland

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group: Social Media for Social Innovation

March 19th, 2015 by

Social Media for Social Innovation, Invitation #8

In an October 2010 issue of The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell published an article to argue that social media generate only weak ties and can’t provide the strong ties always required by real social change (such as the civil right movement). Immediately his article triggered strong responses. But the debate was largely inconclusive at the time.

On Monday, March 23, 2-3 pm, in Hornbake 2116, at the 8th meeting of the iSchool Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group, we will revisit Gladwell’s put-down of social media for social innovation along at least two lines of inquiry. One, we will take stock of more recent examples and counterexamples to Gladwell’s thesis. Two, we will explore whether and how sensitive design may have helped improve and reinvent social media applications to support revolutionary social change. Combining the two strands, we will discuss the implications to research on social movement and technology affordance, and to the practice of social activism through social media. Light, healthy refreshments will be provided.

On March 23, we will discuss the following article:
Gladwell, M. “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted,” New Yorker (October 4), 2010, pp. 42-49, available at

Jenny Cotton, a Master of Library Science student at Maryland’s iSchool, will lead the discussion.

The iSchool Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group ( aims to disseminate and advance knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship. In Spring 2015, we meet on Mondays, 2-3 pm to discuss classic and new articles on key issues in innovation and entrepreneurship, in conjunction with INST 621: Managing Digital Innovations in Organizations. All members (students, staff, and faculty) of the UMD community are welcome to attend any session. This group is sponsored by the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI) and hosted by Dr. Ping Wang ( See our full schedule at .