What’s Fueling The Arab Uprising?
Social networking enabled the rest of the world to sit and watch in real time as the events in Egypt and North Africa went down in early 2011. Not only did it enable global networking but it also enabled those in these specific areas to communicate with each other. It helped to give them the confidence that there were others out there that were on their side and willing to participate. This wasn’t a new thing though, the uprising was progressively building over time and then it suddenly exploded online. Only then was the world informed of what was really going on, specifically from the view of activists and ordinary citizens. It was as if people had only just opened their eyes to the unrest in various countries and the Governments’ hypocrisies. As author Hisham Matar said “Revolutions are a boring thing. They take years. Social change takes a very long time.” (albanyadmin 2012). Complete change won’t happen within a year but with the aid of social media these uprisings have had and will continue to gain a significant power boost from regular citizens and activists in the area and around the world.
“Tweets were sent” Morozov (2011) said. They certainly were, he’s not wrong about that. As you can see for yourself here, in real time or go back in time to view the tweets. The site documents tweets sent out from Egypt with exact locations using geolocation services from smartphones. It’s of interest to note, whether the people themselves tweeting know that the rest of the world have access to their exact location? It is a matter of privacy, do people want their every move tracked? Not me.
Was social media the cause of these uprisings and protests? In my opinion, no. After some extensive reading about the issue, I believe that the use of social media helped fuel the uprisings but to place blame on Twitter as the cause? Outrageous. Although Malcolm Gladwell takes a similar stance as I, he goes further with it. Saying that “the revolution will not be tweeted.” Indicating that social media is practically useless when it comes to serious activism (Popova 2012). Coming from someone who doesn’t even have a Twitter account or use the platform, I find this quite condescending to the whole ordeal. To completely dismiss the use of social media seems quite left field, where is the evidence to suggest that these platforms were useless? I think those on the ground tweeting in Egypt would definitely beg to differ. How would they have staged protests if they could not find others to join them? On a lighter note, Malcolm Gladwell has a spectacular head of hair.—>