So in Maria Popova’s article (1st set reading), she said that Malcolm Gladwell declared that “the revolution will not be tweeted”, and that social media is useless when it comes to serious activism. As we have all seen this week, it is obvious that he was wrong.My group presentation was on this topic, and I discovered that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were not the main causes of the Egyptian revolution, however they did help organise and disseminate information. And the revolution definitely was tweeted, sorry to say Gladwell… But “#egypt” was the most popular hashtag in 2011 and #jan25 was number eight (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/egypt-the-top-hashtag-twitter-2011).
Also, tweets around the world about Egypt during the revolution jumped from 2300 a day to 230 000 a day! (http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/05/the_egyptian_revolution_dominated_twitter_this_year, I recommend watching the video on this website too to have a visual understanding of the enormity of tweets).
But of course, like I said, social networks were not the only reasons why the Arab Spring revolutions were successful. And like Evgeny Morozov said in Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go, unfortunately a lot of Western media focused so much on social media social media social media. But, for example in the Egyptian revolution, the people were ready for change and there was a real grass roots power behind the protests.
I really like this article by media critic Jay Rosen, http://pressthink.org/2011/02/the-twitter-cant-topple-dictators-article/. In it he explains a genre of articles that occurred after the Egypiatn revolution, which he calls “Twitter can’t topple dictators”. These are the articles that have titles like “People, not things, are tools of revolution” and “Mubarak steps down. But let’s be clear- Twitter had nothing to do with it”. They totally dismiss the role of social media and object to unquoted statements by random people that it does. Anyway, Rosen does a really good job of explaining it!
In regards to the Egyptian revolution, I personally think that the people were finally ready for change after 30 years of oppression, and social media was a way of organising the events. The median age of the Egyptian population is 24, so it makes sense that so many of them were already using Twitter and Facebook, so communicating via these networks was an obvious way of doing so.
What do you think of all of these arguments?