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The Role of Social Media’s Influence


The role of the social media in the 21st century is of major concern to the mainstream media and social scientist alike. The social media arms people with means of connection in times of crisis. Citizens are able to engage with these tools to create awareness in the country and the world. In the modern world, access to the internet is easily available and cheap to use. It is no longer necessary to visit the cyber café for connectivity as smart phones and tablets have internet connectivity. Essentially, everyone is a journalist. In recent times, activists use the social media to ignite revolutions. This paper will try to look at the role of social media in activisms and revolution.

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Influence of Social Media on Activism and Revolutions

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have had their fair share of contributions to unrest in the world. In 2011, the world had a glimpse of the power of the social when a revolutionary fever swept across the Arab nations.


Late December 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi set himself ablaze “a desperate act of defiance following his denied attempts to work as a street vendor to support his family…. The scenes of his self-immolation captured by passersby and posted on YouTube as well as those of the mass protests that followed his funeral, quickly circulated in Tunisia and beyond “(Beaumont par. 13). By January 2011, the government of Tunisia deployed military on the streets and imposed a curfew. However, this did not deter the determined Tunisian from flooding the streets of Sfax. Eventually, the government bowed down, and Ben Ali had to flee the country.

Albeit the government of Tunisia Practicing internet censorship, this did not deter the largely youthful from using the social media platform to disseminate information concerning the revolution. Seasoned cyber activists used closed loops to get their information on twitter and Facebook. In Tandem to this revolution, Tunisia also experienced an increase in the number of Facebook users by 8%. (Amin 64)


In Egypt, google’s executive Wael helped start the revolution. Wael in an effort to end police corruption posted a video of police officers beating up a Khaled Said a renowned businessperson. Eventually, Khaled died due to the police beatings, but the video on YouTube drew massive unrest across the nation. Wael later on created a page on Facebook that attracted over 500,000 members all over the country. Eventually, protesters flooded the streets of Cairo a move that would eventually overthrow Mubarak’s government. At this time, the rate of tweets from Egypt and around the world regarding the revolution had shot from 2300 to 230,000 a day. Videos about the protest also went viral on YouTube with over 6 million hits.


“As the protests spread across the Arab world, activists in Lebanon began to unite with the goal of ‘ousting the sectarian system.’ These activists managed to reach around 15,000 people through a Facebook group entitled “In favor of ousting the Lebanese sectarian system towards a secular system.” The group is comprised of youth from different sects, regions, and cultural backgrounds” (Hulaimi par. 4) Nonetheless, the revolution did not succeed due to the division between the youth.


Researchers iterate that social upheavals are the product of a process rather than a replacement for it (Amin 65). It is very incorrect to blame social media for all the unrest in the world. Social media are a tool that societies use to highlight existing imbalances. Political liberation is a culmination of a literate and densely connected society such that they can be able to discuss national issues. The fact is social media is a partial platform that gives societies with oppressive regimes a window to air their grievances. If well used, it does not give any side a decisive advantage over the other.

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Works Cited

Beaumont, Peter. “The Truth about Twitter, Facebook and the Uprisings in the Arab World”. The Guardian. 2011. Web.

Hulaimi, Wan. “It’s a Social Media Revolution in The Middle East.” The Straits Times. 2011. Web.

Ramtin, Amin. “The Empire Strikes Back: Social Media Uprisings and the Future of Cyber Activism.” Kennedy School Review. ProQuest. 2009. Web.

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