Looking back on the world’s history, I have a funny feeling that today’s revolutionaries may not turn their countries into such benign places as we’d like to think. How do we know they will be able to put everything together and democratically operate? Will a new despot emerge from the rubble? This is not to say that I prefer Mubarak or Ben Ali or Gadaffi, but it is too soon it some regards to sound the horn of cheer. The real work may still be before them. Countries like Tunisia have a lot of problems and a charismatic leader may emerge with a scapegoat strategy for rebuilding. Aaron Brady is more optimistic:
[I]nstead of the personality cult by which Presidents-for-life like Ben Ali and Mubarak have ruled for decades, the masses of nameless Cairenes and Tunisians—assembled on Facebook and in the street—represents a kind of anti-personality cult. When everyone is “Khaled Said” (or “Mohamed Bouazizi” in Tunisia), after all, the story being told is not only that the nation is united, but that it is united by the common experience of having suffered at the hands of the state. In this sense, instead of “leaderless revolutions,” perhaps we might think about how Facebook helped facilitate a “revolution of leaderlessness“?…
In other words, what Gladwell flags as a weakness of social media—the difficulty of producing strong commitment to a single idea or plan—might actually be what makes it uniquely valuable. By uniting around the crimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, the much more difficult political question of what kind of government was to succeed him could be deferred until later.
H/T: The Dish