What Snowden did do was become the public face of digital privacy advocacy backed by a trove of Orwellian PowerPoint slides. (It also didn't hurt that he's disarmingly eloquent and possesses boy-next-door good looks which just ooze aw shucks all over the place.)
Snowden brought issues of near-unfettered digital surveillance front and center. And people got angry about the loss of their privacy! Or rather, people in the techblogosphere got pretty pissed off about it. The public, for their part, were only so-so outraged by the prospect of mass surveillance.