SILS Professor Zeynep Tufekci Delivers TED Talk on the Internet’s Impact on Social Change

February 3, 2015

Dr. Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gave a TED Talk, “How the Internet has made social change easy to organize, hard to win,” which is now available online at

Tufekci originally delivered the talk at the TEDGlobal 2014 conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in October 2014. In her talk, she explains that technology can empower social movements in multiple ways, including the speed in which messages and awareness can spread. However, that speed may ultimately hurt movements by not allowing them to develop the organizational infrastructure and interpersonal relationships needed to negotiate the challenges of significant political or social change. “Easier to mobilize does not always mean easier to achieve gains,” she says.

In addition to being a member of the SILS faculty, Tufekci is an adjunct faculty member with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Sociology, and a faculty associate at the Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  She was previously a fellow at the Center for Information Technology at Princeton University. Her research interests include the social impacts of technology (especially social computing), research methods, gender, inequality and new media. Because the topics of her research are so relevant to current events, she is frequently quoted in newspapers and on Web sites such as The New York Times, Time, The Economist, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and international publications and sites such as Public Radio International’s The World, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Times of India and a myriad of other news sources. She recently became a regular contributor to the Financial Times.  Shortly after the 2012 presidential election, Tufekci contributed an Op Ed piece to The New York Times about the impact technology had on President Obama’s re-election campaign, and she has published two more op-eds in The New York Times since then.