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“Without Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy,” Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, later wrote, calling for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Glassman, a former senior State Department official, told a crowd of cyber activists at a recent conference sponsored by Facebook, A. As for Moldova’s so-called Twitter Revolution, Evgeny Morozov, a scholar at Stanford who has been the most persistent of digital evangelism’s critics, points out that Twitter had scant internal significance in Moldova, a country where very few Twitter accounts exist.

Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools. Nor does it seem to have been a revolution, not least because the protests—as Anne Applebaum suggested in the Washington—may well have been a bit of stagecraft cooked up by the government.

At four-thirty in the afternoon on Monday, February 1, 1960, four college students sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. The world, we are told, is in the midst of a revolution.

“I’d like a cup of coffee, please,” one of the four, Ezell Blair, said to the waitress. The Woolworth’s lunch counter was a long L-shaped bar that could seat sixty-six people, with a standup snack bar at one end. These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.

Another employee, a black woman who worked at the steam table, approached the students and tried to warn them away. Thousands were arrested and untold thousands more radicalized.

Everyone wanted to go.’ “ Some seventy thousand students eventually took part.

Around five-thirty, the front doors to the store were locked. “The answer was always the same: ‘It was like a fever.

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