Social Media – A Revolutionary Tool

The Arab Spring is a term expressing the revolutionary movements in 2010, which began in the Arab region. What made the Arab Spring so unique was the utilisation of social media to establish and promote uprising agendas, as these were the first collective movements in the Middle East since Internet and social media revolutions. A journal article by Richard Lindsey explores the significance of social media during the Arab Spring, allowing individuals to influence public opinion and gain international support through the global distribution of news. Lindsey assures that techniques and procedures via social media will affect future revolutionary tactics in globalised societies, however the degree to which is questionable.

Sharing mass amounts of uncensored and accurate information through social networking significantly prompted the rise in Arab Spring activists. Not only did they obtain supremacy to overthrow powerful dictatorship, but also Arab civilians were now conscious of underground communities whom they can connect with. This may have not been possible without the significant role social media played, “We use Facebook to schedule the protests… Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.” – Arab Spring activist from Egypt. Stories of shared grievances and hopelessness was overflowing over these networks. The use of digital storytelling through social media is what drew people into the streets to protest.

ArabSpring-Tweeter

Image source

A blog post on PolicyMic describes the use of social networks as assisting to remove the psychological barrier of fear for Arab civilians by connecting and sharing information. The consistent flow of news provided a sense of reassurance that they are not alone, and that there are others experiencing hardship, prejudice, and similar accounts of brutality. Professor of mass communications from Cairo, Hussein Amin, stated that social networks “for the first time provided activists with an opportunity to quickly disseminate information while bypassing government restrictions”. It is worthy to note that new social networking platforms were not the reason for the Arab Spring but function in serving future revolutions with regard to communication.

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ME & THE MEDIA

My name is Loren, I’m a 19 year old student studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media / Journalism degree at UOW.

I am very familiar with being connected online and have been since my early adolescence. Myspace, Bebo, Msn messenger, Piczo, Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Google+ are just some social networking sites off the top of my head that have come and gone since I have been a part of the online world. Sure, all of these sites still exist but the boom in popularity have differed. This just goes to show how rapidly the media is actually converging.

I find myself using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram regularly (daily) because they are the easiest to access when on the go (via iPhone apps). I feel that these media platforms are also the most popular within my age group which creates an instant convenience when I feel the need to share thoughts, photos, videos and much more.

I love social networking and being a part of a ‘wireless’ generation. I feel it is the most powerful way in today’s society to communicate because it is easily accessible, instant, and not to mention global. Furthermore I think that people really underestimate the power in online media – one click of a button and it’s there for anyone to see. This is a major advantage to the media industry as they are able to get more information out there in a smaller amount of time with comparison to, for example, print media.

I am really looking forward to learning more about technological convergence. Hello and welcome BCM students.