Role of Social Media’s Influence in Activism and Revolution
Social networking and internet creation have significantly raised people’s capacity to spread or distribute information easily and freely and as well increased the capacity of the people to organize events. Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia were highly contributed by the use of social networks which resulted in the bringing down their long-term, domineering era.
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Social media, just like any other current modernization, may be used in a positive or negative way. The primary benefit and problem of social media is that it allows freedom of speech and expression, irrespective of whether or not the views should be heard.
Leaders have developed fear on online social media due to the fact that it plays a very important part in aiding revolutions. It does not matter whether social networks have the capacity to produce revolutions; it only matters whether the public believe it. Belarus’ president, Lukashenko, developed fear which led him to shut down Facebook. He saw this site as American way and he thought that people would become Americanized (Pargeter 231).
The broad use of social networks provides a remarkable challenge for traditional media providers. People have integrated YouTube videos and Facebook feeds through publishing. Most young generation at any function or event display a desire just to share their views and opinions through the use of social networks as a vital media to freely communicate. The use of social media has led to distribution of information in large scale in a short period of time.
Terrorists and racists are greatly utilizing social media as a way of publishing their hate speech and terror and depending less on usual websites. Shirky (31) stated that “a 20 percent increase in the number of hate and terrorist-abetting Web sites, social network pages, chat forums and micro-bloggers over the last year, to a total of 11,500 in 2010.” such results may be contributed by the stability and durability of the social networks and internet.
Social media contributed in various ways to the revolution which happened in Tunisia and this may be functional to some other contexts. Social media influenced the grassroots mobilization where the protests began on Facebook and afterwards effectively contributed a lot in community organizing stage. It as well contributed to increase in organization of civil society as well as dynamic citizenship. People utilized the importance of social media to identify where the police, looters, snipers have positioned and used it to inform others.
Social media acted as a means of security and protection. Facebook in Tunisia revolution was also used as a device to counter any propaganda or rumors like the case of allegations of shootings in the neighborhood but after a short while some responded saying that was false. Social media played a key role in examining government statements, as soon as the government officials give speeches on TV, the public went online, Facebook and twitter, to analyze them (Pacheco).
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Actually, the revolution could have taken place without the means of social media but it would not have happened as fast like the way it was experienced in Tunisia and Egypt. The above examples have been used only to represent how social media have and will play major role in effectively mobilizing and spreading information to the public. Social media is considered cheap, efficient, and fast and has provided support to the public to efficiently and freely communicate without any restriction.
Pacheco, Walter. Activists push politics on Facebook, Twitter. 2012.
Pargeter, Alison. “Reforming the Impossible?” African Political Economy 33.107 (2006): 220-234.
Shirky, Clay. “The Political Power of Social Media.” Foreign Affairs 91.1 (2011): 29-40.