In this interesting TED talk, journalist Evgeny Morozov goes against the grain, suggesting that social networks don't necessary promote freedom and democracy, but in fact are a tool used by dictators and repressive regimes to solidify their power.
Morozov points to the Twitter "revolution" in Iran, for example, and notes that social networks made it easier for the government to keep tabs on the opposition rather than empowering Iranians to overthrow the ruling party.
"The KGB used to torture to get this information," he says at one point, "now it's all online."
It's an interesting point of view that deserves some consideration amid all the hoopla over social networking and it's role in social change.
p.s. If you read this blog, you already know how much a fan I am of TED - Technology, Education, Design. See why by checking out the new list of video topics at TED.com.