One of such discussions is dedicated to the question on whether “Social Media is becoming the Most Powerful Force in Global Politics". Clay Shirky, an American writer and a specialist on social effects of Internet technologies, argues that social media can potentially revolutionize power relations in many modern societies and to empower nations to actively shape economic and political situation in their countries. He claims that social media has the power to unite people in their struggle to change the status quo without guaranteeing, however, that social media will turn any social upheaval into a success. In this way Shirky’s standpoint is much less radical than that of his opponent, Evgeny Morozov, who uses the failure of social media to assist social changes in his home country, Belarus, as a counter-argument to Shirky’s claims . Moreover, Morozov is convinced that social media at its current stage can hinder democratization of societies rather than facilitate it. Although his paper “How dictators watch us on the web” attempts to provide a balanced opinion on the issue and to acknowledge the validity of the arguments presented by Clay Shirky, it is possible to feel that Morozov is quite certain that social media is not beneficial at the moment. Although this point of view is supported by author’s own experience, this personal involvement makes Morozov less objective in assessing the overall impact of social media. In my opinion, Morozov gives little credit to the potential benefits that Internet and social media may have for shifting the power balance in the country and the failure of social resistance in Belarus should be viewed as a learning experience rather than a total failure of social media. In general, it is important to keep in mind that social media is just one of the tools to promote democracy across the world, which can empower nations but is not a stand-alone strategy to promote social change.
"Clay Shirky." . N.p.. Web. 31 May 2013.
Pilkington, Ed. "Evgeny Morozov: How democracy slipped through the net." Guardian. 13 Jan 2001: n. page. Web. 31 May. 2013.