A little while ago, Malcolm Gladwell faced a backlash following his New Yorker piece on why "the revolution will not be tweeted". He was dismissive of the effect that social media can have on protest movements".
His central thesis being that the ties that bind social media are weak, which is why you can have 1,000 Facebook friends but not in the real world.
The same is true of the riots at the weekend as parts of the UK's national press, okay the Daily Mail and the Sun, pointed the finger at Twitter and Facebook for fuelling the weekend riots that led to looting in Tottenham, Enfield, Brixton and elsewhere in London.
The Sun said that rioters used Twitter to swell their numbers and "orchestrate the Tottenham violence" as messages were sent inciting others to join in as they sent messages urging: "Roll up and loot".
The paper quoted one tweeter who posted: "one sick tweet even called on rioters to KILL police officers in a chilling reminder of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during a riot nearby in 1985″.
It said crowds swelled as they plundered shops during the night as looters used Twitter to brag about their hauls and spread word of their locations.
The Daily Mail also joined in and said that "fears that violence was fanned by Twitter as picture of burning police car was re-tweeted more than 100 times ".
Whose fears these were we don't know as the paper doesn't tell us. Its own fears? Possibly.
As others have said blaming Twitter and other social networks is like blaming the printing press. The same is true of pinning any blame on the use of Blackberry smartphones. It is being widely reported that gang members were using Blackberry phones to organise mostly because of its free and instant Blackberry Messenger (BBM) service, which is private and much more difficult for security services to monitor.
I'm sure they were. Blackberry's are cheap in comparison to other smart phones and second hand trade very cheaply. A decade earlier mobile phones par se were being used to organised trouble and text messages were being sent.
Twitter, Blackberry and phones of any variety are almost immaterial in all of this because as Gladwell noted as with the Arab Spring, the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the use of the technology is least interesting fact about the whole affair.
He rightly said that people have protested and brought down governments before Twitter or Facebook were invented. And they did it before the internet came along. In the same way people have rioted across the UK many times, be it Leeds in the 1970s, Bristol, Broadwater Farm and Toxteth in the 1980s, Hartcliffe in the 1990s and Bradford and Bristol in the noughties.
Likewise, no one had a phone in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and no one had a mobile in 1989 as the Berlin wall came down.
People use whatever is to hand. At one time it was the printing press to spread the word, then telephones and mobile phones and now social networks.
In all of this the word always spreads. We saw that at first when just a few gathered to join the original protest over the death of Mark Duggan, the man whose death provided the spark and excuse for disorder and looting to spread across London, and we saw it as many more gathered to cause trouble and mayhem.
What you can't do is blame the technology or tag it a "Twitter riot" as the Daily Mail did. That's simply too easy and too wide of the mark.
Follow Gordon MacMillan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gordonmacmillan