Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’re already well aware of the growing civil unrest in Egypt. You most likely know about it thanks to Social Media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. However, many people are claiming Social Media is what sparked the revolution in Tunisia, Egypt and will do so again in any other country ready for revolution in the Middle East. If anything Social Media has only helped revolutions, not started them.
I’m not downplaying the effects of Social Media but I’m not exactly attributing the next overthrow of any Orwellian government to Twitter. Instead, it’s what the people are saying – that’s what responsible for revolutions. Twitter, Facebook nor any Social Media channel is not directly responsible for organizing millions of people in to overthrowing a government or staging protests – these are all thoughts that have been years in the making, – it has only been recently that acting on these thoughts en masse was viable.
Social Media and even WikiLeaks, while powerful in their own right, are only the equivalent of throwing a molotov cocktail into a house on fire. Even without Internet access the Egyptian people have found ways to protest for the change they want without Twitter and if anyone paid attention during history class George Washington wasn’t live Tweeting the American fight against British tyranny.
Instead, this is a rebuttal to the people who tout Social Media as this medium capable of amazing things while ignoring the people that interact through said medium. A single Tweet about wanting freedom isn’t going to do much. Tweeting about a riot of a couple thousand ready to overthrow an oppressive government thanks to leaked information courtesy of Julian Assange? That’s going to start some real riots.