Social Media played a huge part in helping the Egyptian populace coordinate a revolution that the whole world followed. Despite the new defunct Mubarak’s attempts to silence the people by disconnecting all internet connectivity in the country, updates were still sent out by Bloggers using old school mediums such as faxing. Following Mubarak’s fall, we’re still receiving updates on the Egyptian revolution thanks to the brave Bloggers, Journalists and Photographers giving us an intimate view of a country going through a massive change.
Many photos were shared through Flickr but the photo sharing network has acted to take down an Egyptian Blogger’s photos of the revolutions.
With President Hosni Mubarak resigning from office due to pressure in the streets (as well as online), it looks like one social network is receiving praise from a Google Exec who has become a hero in the land of Egypt.
“First Tunisia, now Egypt,” began CNN host Wolf Blitzer. “What’s next?”
“Ask Facebook,” answered Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian activist and the head of marketing in the Middle East and North Africa for search giant Google. “I want to meet [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg and thank him personally.”
“I’m talking on behalf of Egypt,” he continued. “This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook. This revolution started in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians started collaborating content. (Raw Story)
Despite his high profile within the Egyptian society, Wael Ghonim used his power and influence to counter what the Egyptian regime was doing instead of cowering in fear at the threat of being punished by the secret police (note: he was later on kidnapped but was released shortly thereafter).
Later on Ghonim goes on to explain that the best way to liberate a society is to give them the internet, which empowers people to organize themselves via social networks and counter government propaganda.
With Facebook being credited for helping organize the Egyptian revolution, we may see authoritarian governments take stronger measures against social networks in order to prevent something similar happening within their own borders.
Unable to access the Internet after the their dictator shut down access nationwide, Egyptian citizens are coming up with alternative ways to organize themselves despite being digitally cut off from each other.
“They’re using old-fashioned word of mouth,” says Neil Hicks, policy advisor of the non-profit advocacy group Human Rights First. “They’re aware of the possibilities of surveillance if they use these technologies. So they get on a motorbike or car, and go to the next neighborhood and arrange things.”
A widely circulated document has served as a manual; it has illustrated instructions for everything from basic communications, to what to wear to a protest, to how to minimize injury while being attacked by police, says Hicks. (USA Today)
While it may notsound as “cool” as finding ways to hack around the system, bloggers may want to consider alternative methods of communication (like radio) just in case their government decides to implement something similar within their own country.
Although there are Egyptians finding ways around the blanket cut off via satellite phones or from landlines (who are dialing into free servers), hopefully political leaders in other nations can convince the Egyptian dictator to lift the cut off in the near future.
Wow, what a couple of weeks it has been for Social Media. Heralded as helping spark the revolution in Tunisia by giving people the voice to call the populace together against corruption, Social Media is now being fought by the Egyptian government.
Yesterday the Internet was effectively turned off in Egypt but little could be done to contain the fallout.
Unable to contain the unrest in the streets, Egypt has apparently cut off internet access throughout the country (preventing bloggers from even emailing their posts in order to get around the social networking ban).
The Egyptian government is even reportedly turning off SMS as well as landlines in order to keep people from communicating to the outside world.
With very few bloggers able to blog, tweet or Facebook events happening in one of the worlds oldest countries, what measures should bloggers take in order to get the word out?
While it’s uncertain what steps the Egyptian government will take in order to keep the word out from what is happening in Egypt, here are a couple of measures bloggers can take to make sure their voices are not silenced. read more