The audience wasn't terribly amused. Applause was tepid. While he sees the overall value of social media, even in its infancy, he has several basic criticisms.
Gladwell, the Canadian author of The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, and a staff writer at The New Yorker, views social networking as a so-called "weak-link" technology --- meaning the Facebook friends and Twitter followers we have are not at all close contacts. They are distant acquaintances and fewer people have more friends than ever.
He believes social media promote anonymity over the development of trusting relationships with those you know.
And he sees it as a platform that values spontaneity over the creation of grassroots organization, of expression but not necessarily creation.
As a result it's easy to generate a wide but shallow network --- as in the case of Barack Obama, delivered to the presidency by the momentum of social media but ultimately considered unpopular a year into office.