Week 13

Zhou et al. points out that the influence of social media during the Egyptian revolution should not be overestimated. He also points out that only one fifth of Egyptians got their news from social media. My question is, what do you foresee happening when more oppressed people become tapped into social media? Do you see revolutions becoming more common? Do you see them occurring at a more rapid pace? Or do you think that it will take a long time for repressed citizens to fully tap into social media like the rest of the world has?

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4 Responses to Week 13

  1. daefros says:

    I think you raise a great question here. I think that social media is definitely a vehicle for social change but I think that the people’s concerns still need to be present. I think that while more people gain access to social media to express their grievances, it will take a lot more than just a tweet to motivate people. I think that the offline networks are still very important. Access to social media will take a while for people to utilize in an oppressed country because they might not have full access and they have to get used to the new tool. I think that social media will definitely speed up the process of international countries and traditional media catching on to particular grievances in oppressed countries which may assist the protestors.

  2. jbschwarz says:

    I think that it is really interesting to consider what social networking and the internet in general will do for oppressed people who lacked an outlet before. I definitely see more revolutions happening and their planning occurring at a more rapid pace. It is impossible to stop oppressed people from gathering together and making themselves heard once they figure out a way to get their message across and find more people who feel the same way that they do. Social networking provides a free and easy way to organize and more people across the world are realizing the power that the internet holds. I for see a number of other oppressed nations getting the courage to revolt because of social networking and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

  3. taylorkdavis says:

    This is an interesting question to think about. I think the arguement can be made that many people are engaged in social media in the United States, however, that does not mean that they are all going out and donating time/money to different social causes. This leads me to believe that social media is good at getting the word out and calling for action. The word needs to get into the hands of people who are willing to use their offline social networks to get people involved in the cause. No one is going to show up just because they were given a facebook invite or receive a tweet. Rather, they will go out if someone specifically asks them to do a managable task. Even with the use of the Internet increasing in places where people are oppressed, by using the US as an example, it does not seem that more people are going to engage in social media for certain political causes.

  4. I think that all you guys raise interesting points and I think what’s crucial is that we also consider how social media have also been used to negate the putative benefits of bringing people together. Consider that Morozov as well as other authors have highlighted that the fact that social media exposes social networks means that the authorities are also finding it easier to track people down, and the fact that the action plan is laid out clearly prior to the revolution means that the authorities know where to go. So really, I think that the ball is in the regime’s court. If they clam down and violently repress the people, a revolution might well crumble.

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