As political unrest unravels into uprising in Egypt, the general public is getting a firsthand look at the utility of social media in political organizing and in crisis situations.
Michael Hickin’s Wall Street Journal article, Will the Revolution Really be Tweeted? takes a great look at social media’s role in the current situation. The Internet played a huge role in organizing and planning, but of course, it can no longer be utilized as Egyptians no longer have access.
Though social media can no longer be of use to Egyptians organizing on the ground, quick innovations from the groundswell like Google’s speak-to-tweet service are allowing for instant communication to those who are hungry to stay in the loop.
As ‘Generation Facebook’ uses social networks to unite around common causes, those who were once powerless are finding strength in numbers, and social networks are facilitating relationships and coalitions never before possible.
It will be interesting to see how increasing use of Facebook and Twitter can empower the stifled in the future. Facebook apps and Twitter hashtags are encouraging communication between those who, in previous years, would never connect. If today’s Egypt had Internet, it would only serve to further the cause of the protesting citizens.
This example of social media and Internet access as a crucial political freedom is being played out minute-by-minute on traditional media platforms, and the importance of the digital realm on politics cannot be ignored.