You could not have missed it: the revolution in the Middle-East and North of Africa. Some say that Twitter played a very influential role in this revolution; some say that Facebook also played a large part in it. Some information was spread through these channels but did it really start a revolution?
The first signs of a change situation were in Tunisia. A street vendor put himself on fire following some troubles with the police. Although Tunisia maintains strict censorship over media, the news still got spread through Twitter. This got the attention of citizens of Tunisia and soon after that the riots began. Algeria was the next one to follow. The world was not taken too much by surprise – we knew a revolution was coming after the recent bombings in Egypt.
While Twitter and Facebook did not start the revolution, they did have a part to play in its development. In the last few years, Facebook and Twitter had a giant growth and today about 30 percent are using it in Middle-East and North of Africa.
Traditionally these regions have experienced strict censorship of their media, with the stated controlling and directing which news was showed to the public. However, they could not control the channels of Twitter and Facebook. These channels made it easier for the residents of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt to actually organise a protest. The first protest in Egypt was organised through a Facebook Page. By the time that Mubarak shut down the internet, the message had already spread.
The people who started were the people who were unsatisfied with the regime. The social media was just a supporting tool to have their voice heard. It is actually really interesting to see this change. If the social media can be used to organise a riot, we are curious what it will do in the future.
One thing we know for sure, it is powerful, let’s never underestimate that.
Image by pete simons