Near as I can tell the belief in the power social networks revolves around just how powerful social ties can be over the internet. I have proposed a way to study this below, even if I don't really have the resources to execute it.
I am a bit put off by the idea that these very social networks prefer to ignore the facts at the expense narcissistic reputational gloating. But I suppose shouldn't concern myself too much with the high-profile peanuts in the gallery.
I think the critics of Gladwell at least owe us a definitional explanation. Gladwell in his work at least sought to define how people relate. And It is obvious that Gladwell's critics have not thought-out things quite as throughly. Most of their complaints seek to attack either one part of the whole or to spin the entire argument in a different direction. None of these critics seem to question the existence of "strong-ties" or "weak-ties" or alter the fundamental definitions thereof. Yet, somehow, that is simultaneously what they wish to argue against.
Now Gladwell's critics have their work cut out for them. Too much was made of the headline, "The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted." The critics now must somehow prove that the "revolution" was in fact "tweeted". Simply because people used twitter does not make it the instrument of change. After all if that was the case then why just Egypt and why not so many other repressive regimes? Surely there is more to this picture then people using a somewhat awkward social connection site? Right?
I honestly don't know, but whatever happened in Egypt seems to have had more at work then just young and disenchanted wired folk. That view is just too simplistic and idealistic to be the whole truth. The tacit support and silent consent of those who are older speaks volumes to the true extent of what the protest is just the major symptom of.
So I must ask Gladwell's critics before they declare outright victory to define the relationships at work behind the revolution in Egypt. Is there a third class of social-tie that Gladwell isn't accounting for? If so how does this third class of social-tie behave? And how did that social-tie turn into a social-force? It's a tall order, that the critics shouldn't take it lightly. So critics, for sanity's sake, get your facts straight before you gloat as if you were nine and back at your grade-school playground.