Some people have come to the conclusion that Twitter and Facebook led to the uprisings that have taken place in some North African states over the past few years and which are commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. Others claim that without these social media platforms, these revolutions may not have occurred. However, I think this is a large generalization that needs to be carefully analyzed.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be pictured as a stage for all to disseminate and inform others of information. They are a medium for the transmission of information. The medium itself does not influence people to do certain things or act in certain ways. It is the information that they carry and propagate that influences the audience to act in certain ways. Hence, these social media platforms are at most tools in facilitating the revolutions that have taken place across some North African states over the past few years. They are tools that the people have used to express discontent towards their state’s government or dictatorship. People have used these platforms to mobilize and coordinate protests. However, it is by no means the catalyst awakening the revolutions that have taken place.
Twitter and Facebook has carried information to an audience. The information that the audience has received is what motivates or leads them to act in a certain way which in the case of the Arab Spring has resulted in the mobilization of the masses in protest against the governments of North Africa such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
If we look further into these uprisings in Northern Africa, we will see that it is the injustices that have occurred in that particular country that has moved the public to protest against the government. In the case of Egypt, continuing police brutality and the horrific mutilation which led to the death of a civilian named Khaled Said by police was the catalyst leading to the protests against the Mubarak government. If the people of Egypt did not take action on the information they received, then the revolution would not have taken place. Responding to the information provided is what has led to activism in these states. So it is important to understand that these social platforms act as tools to facilitate actions in the world.
Below is a video that gives us a glimpse into the revolutionists’ perception of the role of social media in the Arab Spring revolution. You’ll be surprised as to what they actually think of Twitter and Facebook.
Cover Image: http://bit.ly/16s0EYe