Twitter Revolution: How the Arab Spring Was Helped By Social Media
As a result of the many technological advancements and innovations that have revolutionized how individuals communicate, an abundance of information has become available to everyone. Depending on where the information is found, however, it’s reliability can be questioned. With the growing number of international, self-described (both non-for-profit and for-profit) organizations such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Wikileaks and more, much of the information provided is now often opinionated and biased, nonetheless, truthful. Ultimately, public information supplied by social networking websites has played an important role during modern-day activism, specifically as it pertains to the Arab Spring. In Arab countries, many activists who played crucial roles in the Arab Spring used social networking as a key tool in expressing their thoughts concerning unjust acts committed by the government.
Being capable of sharing an immense amount of uncensored and accurate information throughout social networking sites has contributed to the cause of many Arab Spring activists. Through social networking sites, Arab Spring activists have not only gained the power to overthrow powerful dictatorship, but also helped Arab civilians become aware of the underground communities that exist and are made up of their brothers, and others willing to listen to their stories.
In countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, rising action plans such as protests made up of thousands, have been organized through social media such Facebook and Twitter. “We use Facebook to schedule the protests” an Arab Spring activist from Egypt announced “and [we use] Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.” The role that technology has taken in allowing the distribution of public information such as the kinds stated by the aforementioned activist, had been essential in establishing the democratic movement that has helped guide abused civilians to overthrow their oppressor.
Social networks have broken the psychological barrier of fear by helping many to connect and share information. It has given most people in the Arab world the knowledge that they are not alone, that there are others experiencing just as much brutality, just as much hardships, just as much lack of justice. Social networks "for the first time provided activists with an opportunity to quickly disseminate information while bypassing government restrictions," Hussein Amin, professor of mass communications at the American University in Cairo said.
It is important to understand that new platforms of social media didn’t cause Arab Spring but played a role of communication that aids the revolutions in the long run.