It is generally agreed upon that the social media, in contrast to the mass communication industry, reaches a large number of audiences and thus is to a greater extent, democratic. With the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, news, and information spread fast thus, they have been more and more used as a means of organizing political activism all around the world. In countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, social media has played a significant role in their recent political uprisings.
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The world is constantly changing in terms of technology, and with the introduction of web 2.0 tools, social activism has been recreated. These tools have enabled collaboration, coordination, and voicing of concerns among the populace, thus overturning the conventional connections between the government and the citizens. This study aims to examine the roles played by the internet-based social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in activism and revolution while providing examples.
A social movement, just like any other facet of life, is growingly becoming dependent upon the internet for intercommunication and establishing coalitions which have consequently given rise to revolutions. Such was the case with the Egypt Revolution in 2011 where the social media was employed by social movements in protesting and mobilizing the nationals.
The National Coalition for Change made use of the internet social tools including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to transmit the information around (Sahar and Vaughn 5-6). The social media that was largely used in organizing protests was Facebook. This enabled the dissemination of information to a larger number of people within a very short time which would then share with their friends. Activists such as,
“ Ghonim Implored his Facebook fans to spread the word of the protest to people on the ground, and he and other activists constantly coordinated efforts, combining online savvy with the street activism long practiced by the country’s democracy movements. Ghonim seemed to view the page both as a kind of central command and a rallying point—getting people past “the psychological barrier” (Giglio 16).
Therefore, the use of social networks in the revolution played a major role as it assisted the political activists of Egypt in winning the struggle against their oppressive government by mobilizing the people (Giglio 16).
Social media has aided in revolutions hence overthrowing of tyrannous governments as witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt. Similarly, Moldavia protested against their communistic authorities by use of Twitter. The protestors were drawn together by this media hence it came to be referred to as the Twitter Revolution. Twitter has likewise empowered the Iranian people to defend their rights and democracy. Through social media, activists have gone online to push for political change (Gladwell 1).
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The internet has not only provided a chance for the nationals to access news stories around the globe but also to contribute and become citizen journalists and news makers. Social networking tools have provided a domain for connecting, debating, and articulating different points of view.
In conclusion, the newly technological media tools have given a voice to every individual and acted as a platform to the disfranchised. They provide a different explanation of stories instead of the official political ones. Political movements can address the public directly through democracy. Generally, social networking sites have been used to bring about change in repressive societies.
Giglio, Mike. “The Facebook Freedom Fighter.” The Daily Beast (2011): 16. Print.
Gladwell, Malcolm. “Small Change.” The New Yorker (2010): 1. Print.
Sahar, Khamis and Katherine Vaughn. “Cyberactivism in the Egyptian Revolution: How Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism Tilted the Balance.” Arab Media and Society (2011): 1-37. Print.