Twitter and Facebook RevolutionSocial media like Facebook and Twitter have played an enormous and critical role in the uprisings in the Middle East. We look at how exactly they are using these platforms to organize.
By: Mikaela Ziegler, Sibley Scribe
You can share a picture, post a status, poke someone, and overthrow a dictator. That’s right, I’m talking about Facebook. Once the Arab Spring had come and gone it had become increasingly obvious that social media played an enormous role in the mobilization, and motivation of the citizens of Egypt and Tunisia alike. During the Egyptian protests to oust then president Hosni Mubarak, tweets with hash tags such as #Egypt or #Mubarak, increased from 2,300 to nearly 230,000 tweets a day, about 10,000%. Tweets also increased after Mubarak was ousted, setting a positive example, and fueling uprisings in other countries. But Twitter was not the only way of getting word the word out. Facebook is also credited with mobilizing hundreds of thousands of youths for the early protests in Tahrir Square; in fact, many activists credit social media outlets for the success of the uprisings. The Facebook group “We are all Khaled Said” called for the initial protest on Tahrir Square. More than 80,000 people signed up to go, but more than 94,000 were actually in attendance. During the peak of the uprising the page had more than 1,000,000 likes, and it is said that the one protest organized by the Facebook page was the cause for the ongoing occupation of the square that led to the resignation of Mubarak. “I want to meet Mark Zukerberg and thank him,” says leading activist Wael Ghonim, who also happens to be a marketing manager for Google. This type of thankfulness was not uncommon among protesters. Many of the protesters were young people who had increased access to social media. If there were no presence of social media, the Arab Spring would have taken a completely different course. One might go as far to say that it wouldn’t even have happened.
Sources used in this article include the Huffington Post, NATO's website and Al-Jazeera's website.