The uprising in Egypt has been called a Facebook revolution, and Twitter has been given credit for toppling a Tunisian strongman, but virtual communities only end dictatorships by conjuring real urban mobs. As we watch anti-government protests throughout the Middle East, we should recognize that electronic media are making cities more, not less, important for the future of the world. For decades, cyber-seers have predicted that electronic communication would make face-to-face connections and cities obsolete. Why put up with the inconveniences of New York’s density if you could just telecommute from your “electronic cottage?’’ But that hasn’t happened. Humanity has just passed from being predominantly rural to be predominantly urban.
Glaeser, Edward L. "City Air Still Makes You Free." Boston Globe, February 24, 2011.