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The Impact Of Social Media In The Arab Spring Uprisings

2555 words - 11 pages

While many people throughout the world see social media as a trendy new application in the service of personal amusement, the political upheavals in the Arab world have shown how it can change the dynamics of modern day activism. The Arab Spring Uprising interlaced social unrest with a technological revolution. Blogs, news websites, twitter feeds, and political list servers became avenues for communication, information flow and solidarity. Being capable of sharing an immense amount of uncensored information through social media sites has contributed to the success of many Arab Spring activists. Social media played a role in facilitating the events of the Arab Spring, but the main issues ...view middle of the document...

L. 2012 pg 5). Unemployment in areas like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia have fluctuated between ten and twelve percent over the years (Gelvin, J. L. 2012 pg 4-6). The basic rights and liberties many Western citizens take for granted are what Arab citizens had to fight for. The series of protests and demonstrations triggered some dramatic changes in the Middle East. Included in these changes were the toppling of the Tunisian President Ben Ali, Egyptian President Hosni Mubark, and the Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi (Rane, H., & Salem, S. 2012 pg 97). Other regimes in the region like Jordan, Yemen, and Syria have been forced to make geopolitical changes and reforms (Rane, H., & Salem, S. 2012 pg 97). Social networks did not generate the revolution in the Arab World, but rather helped to create virtual civil society groups that helped facilitate the revolutions.

Social networking and media platforms served as a bridge to build viral communities. Activists all over the Middle East were able to use social media in creative ways to find fellow activists, build solidarity, share grievances and offer advice (Rane, H., & Salem, S. 2012 pg 103). Learning from the experiences of others and adapting in real time has likely been a great contributor to activists success (Ghannam, J. 2011 pg 8). Sites like twitter and Facebook allow for speed and interactivity which not only united protesters, but also provided the means for disseminating important information. For Instance, as Egyptians were watching events unfold in Tunisia they were also planning their own movement; activists from both countries were exchanging knowledge, ideas and words of encouragement online (Eltantawy, N., & Wiest, J. B. 2011 pg 1214). When the Egyptian revolution began on January 25 Tunisian activists used blogs and Facebook pages to offer words of encouragement, as well as share important suggestions based on lessons learned (Eltantawy, N., & Wiest, J. B. 2011 pg 1215). Through Facebook Ahmed Maher, the civil engineer who led the April 6 worker Movement in Egypt, was able to get important advice like, use vinegar and onion near one’s face to avoid the tear gas, protest at night time for safety, use media to convey messages and spray paint security force’s armoured vehicles black to cover the windshield. (Storck, M. 2011 pg 21). These lifesaving suggestions were able to rapidly reach people all over the Middle East. Twitter and Facebook also allowed for activists to transmit plans for civil actions, at times even having to play cat and mouse with government officials, to avoid being caught (Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. 2011 pg 43). (For example Libyans took to Muslim online dating sites to co-ordinate meetings and protests rallies, in order to outsmart regional officers (Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. 2011 pg 43). Afifi Omar took advantage of social media technologies to advise Egyptians on techniques for conducting their own peaceful protests,...

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