The Arab Spring gave way for revolution in the Middle East for countries like Egypt and Tunisia. The revolution of social media has sparked a new information gateway for people all over the world, making it easier for people to find relevant information on crucial issues in order to take consequential action. Mobile phones were the first step in organizing revolution, as citizens would “call their social networks into the streets” (Hussain, 38-39). Then, political activists would organize civil disobedience through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which was a way of social organizing as a gateway into communicating plans of uprising and protest (Hussain, 39). In this way, social networking has a positive influence in the Arab Spring in that it creates a forum for citizens to communicate plans of civil uprising against authoritarian governments that are oppressive.
In a study conducted by Tufekci and Wilson (2012), they found that social media, especially Facebook and Twitter SNS, played a key role in the protests that preceded the resignation of Mubarak. Protesters were able to gain information first and foremost from Facebook, and then furthermore, was a platform for posting videos and pictures (Tufekci, 374). It was also found that people who used Facebook and Twitter were more likely to participate in the protests than people who relied on telephone and e-mail (Tufekci, 375).
This goes against what we’ve been discussing in class in terms of “slack-tivism” in that these articles support the usage of social networking sites as a way to get involved and start political revolution as a means of obtaining democracy in authoritarian countries.
If you were living in a country like Egypt circa 2010, where would you go first to get information regarding Mubarak? In obtaining this information, would you be willing to participate in protests that could lead to government brutality?