Forum 5: Arab Spring

This forum conversation will focus on the classroom discussion on the, ‘Arab Spring’. I have shared a link with you to the google drive where you will find 2 videos and an article to help you develop your comments.

One of the videos, titled, ‘ Images of a Revolution’ specifically discusses the role of images that became powerful political tools in the context of the Uprisings in the Arab world and the creative use of social networking, mobile phones and the internet. The second video is a scholarly perspective of the use of social media in the Arab Spring.

Based on the classroom conversation, the google drive resources you are to make observations about your own view points of this phenomenon, discussing the impact of the internet on these political upheavals in the Arab world.

The forum will be open to comments from 22 – 29 March . The forum contribution should be between 4 – 5 comments.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/mwopoad 

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106 thoughts on “Forum 5: Arab Spring

    Louie Freda said:
    March 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    “The success of the revolt should be credited to Egyptian people, but the impact of social media is undeniable. Social media played an important role in the mobilization and organization of the Egyptian revolt. It intertwined with the development of formal organizations, informal networks, and external linkages, provoking a growing sense of modernity and community, and globalizing support for the revolt.” I think the article “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt” was brilliant. I think the author’s do an excellent job at two things, they recognize that Arab people made serious strides toward democracy and social media helped protestors do it.
    I believe that since 9/11 there is this huge misconception that the Arab world, is not suitable and does not want democracy. I don’t believe this is true and the Arab Spring is great evidence supporting my claim. Hosni Mubarak had ruled Egypt for over 20 years, and no one expected a movement towards democracy but one occurred. Arabs are limited more by the geopolitics of the region than their lack of desire for democracy.
    Protest groups used the Internet and more specifically social media sites to great effect during the Arab Spring. The Internet is a great tool for these groups because it has the capability to make their cause quickly known to the international community. Tweets like the one featured in the article, “boycott: do nt buy the national newspapers for the nxt 3 days, since they r nt covering the whole truth (al ahram, al akhbar, al gomhooria)”, are great examples.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 27, 2015 at 10:25 am

      you can elaborate more on the lines of Arab world politics and desire for democracy in the context of analyzing the videos on the larger impact of activism in the Arab world through the Arab Spring

        Louie Freda said:
        March 28, 2015 at 5:25 pm

        Activism and opposition movements indicates that the people desire change. In the Arab world it is often illegal and dangerous to protest or speak out against the government. During the Arab Spring new technology, social media sites, allowed citizens to coordinate their efforts and convey their displeasure. Using technology also made their resistance known to the world, that was critical. Gaining international recognition and support put many authoritarian Arab governments in the spotlight and on the defensive, something they are not accustomed to and are not good at handling. It changes the dynamic of who is in power, normally regimes find and punish dissenters but with international spotlight the reverse occurred. The international community learned about abuses that were occurring they lowered the legitimacy of authoritarian Arab world regimes. I remember that before the Arab Spring I had never even heard of Mumbarak or Ben Ali but Arab activism put those rulers in a bad spotlight. Although the Arab Spring to many countries into more democratic regimes, it did show to both the international community and to other Arab nations that Arab’s want democracy.

      Zayn Thompson said:
      March 27, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Louie, I agree with your last part about the effects of technology during the Arab Spring. Because tweets and posts like those go up instantly for everyone to see, it is much easier to organize protests or boycotts. Without this social media, it would be nearly impossible to garner so much coordination among protests, as flyers over town wouldn’t do nearly as much good as a simple tweet. Because a majority of Egyptians had some sort of access to social media, it made it that much easier to get the word around.
      A few years ago, when the Tunisian fruit-seller set himself on fire, it set off a chain reaction of awareness of these protests around the world. Had no one filmed it, or had there been no social media, this man wouldn’t have done much in his countries strive for democracy. But, because it was able to be seen globally, people recognized this and began to support the movement.

        Kyle Swartz said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:14 pm

        Zayn, I completely agree with your point about social media being this ultimate broadcasting system that makes it possible for people to organize effectively. The great thing about social media is that there is no limitation to the number of people you can reach with a message. If you were handing out fliers, it would be extremely difficult and would take a very long time to spread the fliers across an entire city. Social media eliminates the both the time and population reached factors that seemed to limit the spread of information in the past. You mention the Tunisian fruit-seller who set himself on fire in protest while his cousin filmed the event. This is an excellent example of a story that without social media would most likely not have made international headlines. Shocking footage like that grabs the attention of audiences around the world, and when it is spread across social media, chances are that even somebody who hasn’t seen the video has probably heard about it in one way or another.

      Zoë Kagan said:
      March 27, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Louie, I agree with the points you have made about social media and misconceptions, and it made me think about how much social media has grown to impact how we consider global issues. Your use of the article was also something that I found important when thinking about how the internet can change the space and power individuals have to start a revolution. One of the most important features that social media has brought to the political arena is accessibility for change. The Al Jazeera video detailed this best by showing how images played a role in changing political conditions. Activist Houda Al-Kbayir states simply but poignantly that “every person acted as a reporter in some area.” This was followed by an excerpt from a video of protesters being forced to stop. One of them yells, “open fire and we will take photos of all of you firing at us…open fire.” The power that each individual holds in using images, videos, and comments to universalize a political concept by sharing it online has increased beyond belief and the revolts of the Arab Spring are the proof.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      I think you brought out a fresh argument about the relationship between general education and awareness of people through the use of technology in political matters that were quite external to their daily lives, America is heavily invested in politics of the Arab world but many have no idea of the players and consequences, this is a side factor to the debate on politics and technology, how educational it can be.

        Zoë Kagan said:
        March 29, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        I think that for so long Americans have only considered their own country to be one that can participate in revolutionary sharing of ideas through technology. Increasingly in the past few years however this is not the case, and the most beneficial part of this is that tech is becoming more inclusive.The movements encompassing the Arab Spring set in motion the concept of a more globally-inclusive online network. This concept is one that is slowly but surely becoming a reality for those in the West who had previously not considered it. The April 6 activists had been using the internet’s unique realm for political protest before the Arab Spring, as the Peace Magazine article details that one of the leaders had “employed mobile phones, digital cameras, and the internet to extend their anti-autocracy movement to the blogosphere.”

      Nick Moffitt said:
      March 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Louie, I strongly agree with most of what you had to say about the misconception about the Arab world not wanting to live in a democratic world. I also spoke about that generalization in my blog post because I found it very interesting. I mentioned that the reason that people see at as being that way is because of corrupt leadership and just fear itself when debating or not to oppress the government. With the advancements of social media and how easy it is to spread ideas that generalization could change in the very near future. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on that?

        Grace said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm

        I also think that the misconception is a very strong point. While studying abroad I realized quite often that what we (Americans) think of ourselves and others things around the world are not always parallel. We can put a spin on what we think of something internationally. We see it through the lenses that we understand. What you originally brought up Louie is a very important concept. I think that the 9/11 had implications that harmed the progress of democratic movement and help because we sometimes general nations and their people into neat boxes we can understand we might be delaying some progress that we would actually support if we fully understood.

    Joe said:
    March 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    After reading the article “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” I feel I have a better understanding of the impact of social media. The article examines some of the positive aspects of social media in Egypt when trying to remove Mubaryk. It makes a point to point out that the Egyptian people are to be credited for the revolt, but social media just served as a tool to get it done. Traditionally, word of mouth is responsible for organizing a movement or spreading an idea. The beauty of social media is that it has become much easier to spread ideas to a wider audience. Facebook and Twitter served as tools in Egypt to organize groups against Mubaryk in Egypt. It served as a cheaper and more efficient way to get everyone together on the same page. By doing so, the word spread fast, and do an abundance of different people, both in Egypt and abroad. Sending a tweet or writing a Facebook post served to be more powerful than people anticipated. These actions had the ability to gather people with similar thoughts around a set purpose. The coolest thing in my opinion around the revolt was the “sense of modernity”. Internet users, especially those on social media, tend to be a younger demographic. In Egypt the younger Cairo men were mostly responsible for the movement, which brings a whole range of new progressive beliefs. The future of Egypt is dependent on them, and what they bring to the table. Social media helped them get their voice out together and beat the oppressive regime that would traditionally make it hard for them to gather. This helped bring egypt together as a whole and build a sense of community, for the whole world to see.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 27, 2015 at 10:28 am

      I found the idea of ‘modernity’ interesting you can develop that more with how technology was embraced in the whole uprising based on the videos and discussion in the classroom

        Joe said:
        March 29, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        From 2010 to 2011 there was a shift in how Facebook users were posting. Users were beginning to post with a more political focus rather than a social focus. People were moving away from posting about entertainment, sharing media, and social connections and focusing more on citizen journalism, organizing protest, and disseminating information. The majority of “Facebookers” were using Facebook as a way to plan and act regarding their revolution. I suppose that the younger more “modern” group of people had been using Facebook strategically. It was something that had never been done before really, the idea of a revolution started online, and even offline in Tahrir Square they were using the theme of Facebook to get their point across. It is clear that this modern tool was driving the uprising.

      Alita said:
      March 29, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Joe, I also thought it was very neat to see how vast of an effect youth involvement on social media had, however, I feel this movement was a partnership. The efforts of grass-root organizations were amazing at rallying support and keeping up the enthusiasm levels during the rallies and movements. Another crucial part was bigger heavier hitting factors like lawyers and politicly active government officials who were able to take the thoughts of the people are articulate them into formidable arguments. The elites took the side of the protesters and had a large role in pressuring the President to resign.

        Reed said:
        March 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        Alita, your comment brought up some interesting points. I am curious whether these grass-roots organizations must rely on the efforts of lawyers and government officials to be successful. Despite the power the youth voice has gained through the expansion of social media, is their effectiveness still limited?

      Alita said:
      March 29, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Reed, I do still think grass-root efforts have a cap on how effective they can actually be. The way our government is set up is through a system of rules, laws, and steps things must be done in. No matter how powerful grass-root efforts get, no matter how many people they rally, ultimately they must still convince a politician to take up their cause with them and execute the logistical steps for change they cannot.

        Kyle Swartz said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm

        Alita, I agree with your point that it is a combined effort on the part of the tech-savvy youth and the grass-root organizations. In a region as politically hostile as the Middle East, it is hard to imagine that it would be difficult to find a politician willing to support the cause of a majority of the population in order to execute the logistical steps for change. Do you think that it is possible that the elites were conscious of the strength of the revolts due to their connection through technology and that is why they supported the cause or do you think there may be another reason for the backing from the elites?

    Mike Gellman said:
    March 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    After reading the article and watching the videos on the Arab Spring protest, I’ve realized just how effective of a tool social media was for the protesters. I feel like the protests would probably have been less effective and not as widespread if it had not been for social media. The main reason I feel this way is because the sources showed how social media made setting up these widespread protests so much easier.
    The most obvious improvement social media made was how easy it made getting the protests together. Fadi Salem mentions this in his part of the re:publica talk where he says that the most critical example of how social media was used was in the ignition of the demonstration, usually through a Facebook event. Social media’s ability to contact a large number of people with ease is what makes it such a strong tool. The article also discusses social media’s importance in setting up the protests by saying, “It’s clear that social media such as Facebook played an important role in transforming organized groups and informal networks, establishing external linkages, developing a sense modernity and community and drawing global attention.” Without this ability to set up serious widespread protests at literally a moments notice, I doubt that the Arab Spring would have been as successful and it definitely would not have been carried out as quickly.
    Another aspect of the protest that social media helped with was it was able to get more people involved by providing a platform that involves less risk. Later in his talk, Salem discusses how social media makes trusting less costly for the individual. This stood out as very important to me because it showed a big deviation from how things were done in the past. Social media allowed for people in these countries to voice their concerns on place like social media without having to worry about being persecuted by their governments. This caused people that were less passionate or not as brave to join. I believe that this had a huge impact in increasing the size of the protests in the Arab Spring.
    Social media played a huge part in why the Arab Spring protests were so successful. Critics like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman may say things like, “What brought Hosni Mubarak down was not Facebook and it was not Twitter. It was a million people in the street, ready to die for what they believe in,” and its true that the driving force behind the protests was the bravery of the protesters. However, the influence of social media can’t be understated because without it there wouldn’t have been millions and they may not have been victorious.

      Cam Hickey said:
      March 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Mike I liked your write up about the power that social had in sparking these revolutions, but one aspect that i believe some people have talked about but have not really dove into was the reactions by the state governments. Do you think that having the governments block social media sites and in some cases internet all together only ended up helping the protesters? While it may have hindered them briefly, the access to mobile phones allowed the protesters to take to the streets with the ability to broadcast everything happening in real time, without the need to return home and post from a computer.

        Mike Gellman said:
        March 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm

        I do think that when governments block social media it definitely has the possibility of backfiring. I discussed in another one of my comments that by blocking the internet or social media, it ended up causing more people to protest against a government. As the number of internet and social media user goes up, governments will anger even more people if they choose to take these services off line.

      Joe said:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Mike I to find it interesting comparing the past and the present in regards to trust, and what you can and cannot say. Facebook has provided a platform in which people can air their opinions free of fear. I like your point about people who are less brave being able to take a stand and say something. It certainly took alot more guts to go against your government publicly in the past. Especially in areas with strict unreasonable leaders. Its easier to be in a protest when more people are involved, I think in the case of the Arab Spring and many other revolutions for that matter, there is strength in numbers.

    cyberoutpost responded:
    March 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

    what you can do is pick some key events in the Arab Spring or even a country and discuss more about the impact of technologies on the political outcomes, by that you can expand on this first comment which is more generalized

      Mike Gellman said:
      March 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Some of the events that were shown in the Al Jazeera video, “Images of Revolution,” were great examples of the impacts that technologies can have. For example, the Tunisian revolutions of 2008 and 2010 showed how much of a game changer social media can be. The big difference between these two revolutions was the doubling of internet and phone users between 2008 and 2010. This was a very similar to the growth seen in other Arab counties. In the re:bublica video they mention that the number of Facebook users went from 18.7 million in 2010 (before the Arab Spring) to 34.5 million in 2011 over all Arab countries. This not only provided an easier way to contact more people but the power of images that were posted online also grew due to the increased exposure. The fact that the 2008 revolution didn’t succeed where as 2010 revolution did was an explicit example of the strength that these technologies hold.
      The Al Jazeera video also discussed the use of social media in the Egyptian revolution. The clips of the man standing in front of the water hose truck and the protestesr marching against police on the bridge were both incredibly powerful images. These images left me with a very similar feeling to when I saw pictures of Tank Man in Tienanmen Square. The difference between these situations was protesters could now use mobile phones and social media to spread the message at a speed and on a scale that was so much greater than at the time of Tank Man. These images did a great job at inspiring more people to join the protests and was a big reason in why they were successful.

    Zayn Thompson said:
    March 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” really shows the power and the impact that social media and technology can have on a country’s movement towards democracy. “It’s clear that social media such as Facebook played important roles in transforming organized groups and informal networks, establishing external linkages, developing a sense of modernity and community, and drawing global attention.” This statement personifies the whole Egyptian movement fairly well. Had this social media and technology not been available, protestors would not have been able to coordinate marches and such. Without this, people couldn’t be brought together in such massive numbers, and the whole process would have been very disorganized. By having a place when everyone could be at once, and coordinate their goals and plans, it formed a sort of community among them. One of the main benefits the Egyptians had going for them was the amount of international support. This was possible by the use of the Internet, and soon other countries like the United States help their own marches supporting the democratization in Egypt. By making waves on an international scale, it put the Egyptian regime in a tough spot because they seemed to be the only ones preventing the democratization.
    Had social media not been available, the democratization process certainly would not have happened this fast, and may not have even happened at all.
    I think the political ramifications of this were huge, because communist countries such as Russia have seen what social media can do. As we see now, Russia, among others, is trying to limit and suppress the amount of and topic of content that you post in Russia. By feeling threatened from the possible impacts of social media these countries are oppressing their people’s rights even more, and jailing those who try to cross those newly set rules.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      you can discuss the impact of internationalization of a struggle and how such struggles rely heavily on technology and even look at other global human rights movements

        Zayn Thompson said:
        March 29, 2015 at 7:13 pm

        Internationalization is basically a system in which different companies garner increased involvement and significance in inter nation markets. Take Twitter for instance, which is a company that was founded in the United States. The process of internationalization helped spread this company and many, many others around for use on the global scale.
        Democratization, human rights, and other similar movements use these companies, and may even need them, in order to be successful. With the ability to reach out to all areas of a country, social media sites such as Twitter are readily accessible for use to most of those who want to. These movements heavily rely on technology, whether it is trying to spread a message or attempting to organize a mass amount of people for a protest, it wouldn’t be possible without the help of modern technological enterprises.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

        Zayn you are getting into a very interesting discussion, the internationalization of corporate interests and dependence of non profit movements such as HR movements on these corporations, the result can be toxic or win-win that is nice lateral thinking!

      Joe said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Zayn, I enjoyed reading your analysis and I agree that the political implications in authoritarian regimes are large. I see social media as being a very efficient form of bringing down an authoritarian regime. When it comes to Russia, its a nation that is starting to open up to internet usage and social media. An earlier forum mentioned the social media cite, Vkontakte. In Russia it is a very popular social media outlet and it has been growing in Europe. In an earlier forum we read about the Russian government cracking down on users airing their opinions about the Russian government.
      Contrary to my last post on Mikes initial post, I think that although sitting behind a screen and saying something may be easier with less fear involved, but that does not mean that their are no ramifications. Zayn your post shows that their are still some harsh realities to acting out even on social media.

      Nick Moffitt said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Zayn, your point about censorship in Russia being a possible option when it comes to limiting the influence social media has is a very good point. My question to that however is, with censorship being an option, do you see citizens of Russia being more active with social media to fight against the government than they would be if the concept of censorship wasn’t brought to the forefront?

    Kyle Swartz said:
    March 27, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    After reading the Article and watching the videos, I believe there is a debate about where credit is due with the revolt of the Egyptian people. This debate is completely unnecessary and it surrounds the arguments that social media is responsible or that the Egyptian people are responsible for the success of the revolt. These are not valid arguments because the success is not to be credited specifically to either reasoning. Yes, the Egyptian people were the ones that organized. Yes, social media had a huge impact on their success. But the debate of which of these two causes is the key cause for the success is unnecessary. A combination of Egyptian uprising and available social media (in the most general sense) are the reasons that the uprising was so successful. Facebook and Twitter happened to be the social media of choice, that does not mean that Twitter is responsible for the success of the Egyptian people. They used what was at their disposal to organize and revolt. The example of voice recorders in the 1980s was used in the video with Fadi Salem as an example of how tools are chosen based on what was available. In the 1980s, tape/voice recorders were their social media. The only differences between that technology and the technology used today are the facts that it can be broadcasted to everyone (all over the globe), and the speed at which it can be spread from person to person. The tools of the trade obviously become more efficient over time, but without the tools, successful organization would be next to impossible. The article states that the credit should be given to the Egyptian people for the success of the revolt, but it acknowledges the impact of social media. This conclusion is incorrect because without one or the other (the Egyptian people or social media), the revolt would most likely have not been successful.

      Mike Gellman said:
      March 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Kyle, I liked your thoughts on how advancements in technologies played a part in the protesters success. Technology can be used not only be used for documenting events but also for educating people that would have otherwise remained ignorant to issues. An example of technology usage that I could see in the near future is police having to wear video cameras on their person while on duty. This would not only provide evidence in court proceedings but also make officers more conscious of their own actions, hopefully cutting down on police violence. As technology continues to advance and become more widespread hopefully it will be used in ways to advance civil rights and justice.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm

        I like the fact that you guys keep highlighting the ‘education’ factor which is something even many scholars did not discuss in their analysis of the Arab Spring

      Nick Moffitt said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      Kyle, I really like the stance you took on this subject by not attributing the success to one specific group or moment in Egypt during the time of the Arab Spring. Like Harinda mentioned, I like how you mentioned education as being a significant factor in the revolts. Without the idea of education the massive influence and knowledge regarding mass social media would not have taken off and been as successful as it was

    cyberoutpost responded:
    March 27, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    you could look at the importance of how the technologies really have an impact taking broader examples from the videos and discussing their impact

      Kyle Swartz said:
      March 29, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Technology clearly has created an environment in which communication and broadcasting news and information is still possible even as the government tries to impose control over it. One of the slides in Fadi Salem’s presentation in the first video shows the statistics of the rate of growth in the number of Facebook users from October of 2010 to April of 2012. The rate of growth is staggering. Increasing from a 15-18% rate of growth to nearly a 30% rate of growth when the Arab Spring began. In this situation, I believe it is appropriate to refer to Facebook, Twitter, and SMS as Liberation technology due to the fact that the combination of the technology and the motivation from the people was truly a recipe for revolt. Another example was discussed about the use of Facebook during the Egyptian revolt, and that was based around the fact that the government had tried to prevent people from accessing Facebook through computers. The response to this was a tweet that urged people to use their cell phones to access websites for organizing and staying connected during the revolt. Salem also mentioned that 56.35% in Egypt and 59.05% in Tunisia believed that the governments’ attempts to control the internet during this time had a positive impact because it motivated undecided individuals to “take to the streets.”

    Louie Freda said:
    March 27, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I thought the video featuring Fadi and Zeynep was really worthwhile. One of the points Fadi made that stuck with me was the idea that social media lowers the “opportunity costs” of protesting. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites were able to assist people on where they needed to go, how they were going to get there and what they needed to know about. Repressive Arab regimes make the obtaining that kind of information conventionally dangerous (you could be jailed) and difficult (you don’t know how to organize). Liberation technology has made protest movements available to many more people across a greater geographic distance. Building off that I thought Zeynep point about “Pluralistic Ignorance” was spot on. I was totally able to relate to the example she gave about listening to a terrible lecture and wanting to leave but not wanting to me the only one doing so. She identifies that social media sites are able to bring people who are thinking the same things (protest) in contact with each other to increase the significance of their protest and help protect them from punishment. “pluralistic Ignorance” is an excellent point because it rejects the idea that social media creates social unrest, it advocates that social media brings people who are already unhappy in contact with each other.

      Alita said:
      March 29, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Louie I liked your ideas but going along with the ideas Fadi made pertaining to opportunity cost I couldn’t help but think of a term I have heard thrown around pertaining to the downfalls of social medias use in political movements. “Slacktivism”. While these noted social media sites are useful and able to assist people in consuming amble amounts of knowledge, are they taking the easy way out? With sites like Twitter which have max word counts is this making the posts bias and limiting the factual information being shared? What are we losing by utilizing the benefits of opportunity cost?

        Louie Freda said:
        March 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        Alita, that is a great addition to my original post. I certainly think “slactivism” has some merits. The character limitation on Twitter often limits the scope of activism per post. Furthermore because these sites are social in nature (and not academic) they lose credibility and the attempt to eliminate bias when presenting and analyzing material. I do strongly disagree with the idea that activism through social media is taking the easy way out. In many Arab countries a single, bias, non-scholarly tweet can land you in jail or worse… Ideally I would like to see activist use social media to post links towards scholarly information but it is certainly not easy to speak out when you know you will be punished. By utilizing the low opportunity costs I believe we are expanding the discourse on activism, it is no longer a debate strictly between academics and policy-makers, everyday citizens can and do participate.

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    The video which featured Fadi and Zeynep brought out some very insightful analysis on the way in which social media acts as a catalyst to uprising protest movements. What was really interesting is the way in which different geographic hemispheres view Facebook as a revolution or not. In Egypt many people answered the question that it was a Facebook revolution while in the video people did not raise their hand. I believe that Facebook is a powerful net that once casted can catch the attention of millions of people who all believe that there is political unjust. What makes social media such a powerful force is that it can lower the cost of creating trust between different activities and groups mobilizing for change. Facebook, twitter and other social media outlets that have integrated in the world have a powerful capacity within their platforms to bring out flaws and spread ideas in milliseconds. What makes it so difficult for autocratic regimes is that they do not have the constraints to punish without checks and balances when it is such a large group of people. The social media gave people a place to show up and voice their opinion for a sense of change instead of the past protests which include 50-150 people versus a 5,000 police militia. When 100,000 people click on a like for a comment or post and all agree to mobilize the autocratic regime loses its strength and power. For years many people have known the government was corrupt but by having multiple forces interlocked they could all mobilize together. In fact social media is not just a different sphere in the world it is an atom that connects and builds on other spheres. By uniting thousands of people to take on and grab the attention and draw out the major flaws it goes to show a picture, a video, and a group of mass mobilizers is worth more than a thousand words. Social media is such as strong catalyst force that outweighs the defense in many situations.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      I was interested in the point about trust, I feel that is a point you can really develop your other posts, discuss how trust is important in mass scale protest movements and the role technology creates in facilitating trust regardless of barriers that exist such as time, space and even state intervention

        Andrew Wanamaker said:
        March 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm

        Whenever there is social inequalities and political discontent in countries that are unstable, trust becomes a huge factor in determining whether or not a group will be able to successfully mobilize. Often when citizens are in economic distress it becomes a common prerequisite for protesting. Some factors that bind together trust between a common group is poor government, low levels of social provision, wide income equality, and ethnic tensions that crate a much larger and powerful force that naturally comes together so fast due to technological capabilities specifically the internet and smartphone that give up to date messages virtually anywhere.
        Essentially two things can happen in this day in age with political trust, the tv and social media can become a critical part of trust building or trust loss. Many of the countries that are politically corrupt like Venezuela, North Korea, Sudan, Somalia, etc are threatened because their traditional closed governments are no longer “so closed” the media has opened up access to information and made the way into the regimes much easier than before. The structural changes have created conditions for rapid fluctuations in political trust to occur.
        There is often a strong link between political trust and the economy however as unemployment rates fall, income declines, and inflation skyrockets citizens lose trust within their own government. This goes to show that during a crisis people are more inclined to think collectively because only government can respond to the threat which explains why the rage regimes in the Arab arena may take a long time to bring upon change from authoritarian regimes to new transitions. People now see the capabilities of change in terms of the economy and political institutions. There is now a fundamental challenge in the Arab nations that was never so heavily contested through social media in which we can watch the violent politically driven uprisings that are natural and comparable to the French Revolution.

        jsroot11 said:
        March 29, 2015 at 8:18 pm

        I am also interested in the idea about trust. Coming from the western world, and having access to the internet for majority of my life, i have come to learn that trusting the internet is not as easily accepted. How ever, for the case of the Arab world, i feel trust over the internet is a key component for individuals. Social networks and the platforms they provide allow people to break through their fear of individualism, and activism against political regimes. The ability to connect and share allows people to know that they are not alone. With the social media as a tool, the ability to come together in a faster way, has allowed for such needed changes.

      Zoë Kagan said:
      March 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I agree that social media has in many cases become an incredibly important political space. Your conclusion with the facts that social media holds power in its ability for unification and mobilizing is especially important. Reading the “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” article explained just how it happened, which is sometimes confusing. People often say that there is a disconnect between Facebook activism and actual activism. However, because the sequence of events that make up the Arab Spring gained so much momentum, Facebook activism in this case became stronger. The link was the fact that groups on social media were able to spread the word and gather people in a way that was not possible before, just by word of mouth. After the Tunisian uprising, several activist groups including youth movements collaborated via the internet. Facebook as a vehicle for change is also very enabling, as the article went on to explain that “social media offered affordable access to social movements by reducing the costs of mobilization and organization and accelerating the dissemination of information.” The key part of this is that social media presented the “affordable” realm for both spreading information and mobilizing thousands of people to join organized demonstrations.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 29, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        these are good observations, you could actually link the discussion in the article with the video

    Alita said:
    March 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    While watching the video about the power of images I was reminded of our class conversation what revolved around the theory that everyone with a smart phone is a reporter in the 21st century. These people who say themselves that they are societal nobodies (not overly politically involved or active) managed to bring about real and permanent change.
    The Twitter debate has been one I have found very fascinating. The use of Twitter as a social means for change is a new and need orientated emergence. Adding on to the article examples of empowering tweets I feel celebrities have a lot of reach and potential in these issues. Because of the number of followers influential and admired people have, and the love large groups feel for them their voices are raised to new levels. Examples of these influential tweets motivating action were seen in the Gaza Conflict as well.
    Overall there are pros and cons to twitter and ‘mind-casting’ as a viable source for information. The word count limit keeps reports concise and easily sharable, but they also run the risk on seeming bias or leaving out important details.

    cyberoutpost responded:
    March 28, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I think the observation you bring in about ‘political nobodies’ becoming somebodies in major political movements thanks to spaces and opportunities brought out through technology is interesting. I feel you can develop this argument further and relate it to what you learnt from the videos and reading.

      Alita said:
      March 29, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Delving further into this argument about the potential of ‘political nobodies’ by way of social media I found great connections in the Egypt: The First Internet Revolt reading. The section that focussed on the sense of community that the Internet and social media helped to foster connected directly to my points. The feelings of danger that come with standing alone on a topic were removed. “Social media helped to build a sense of community and helped to minimize the feelings of isolation.”(Zhuo, 8) During major political movements individuals felt comfortable enough to take a stand because of the support these people felt from the social media cites backing them.

        Cam Hickey said:
        March 29, 2015 at 7:41 pm

        Going back to your comment about the use of twitter and how everyone with smart phone is a journalist made me think about Fadir Salem’s comments in the video where he states that Activism is not citizen journalism. While there is no doubt that the use of mobile phones did in fact help in the revolutions it did cause controversies, where the credibility of the actual media was tested and where normal citizens can not be held responsible or liable for facts that are just not true. This can be a huge problem for many media outlets and like Fadir said, can result in the deaths of individuals.

        Michael Edson said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

        I think that the use of video can be deceiving because we as humans always ask ourselves if what we read or saw was credible. These people who just become political nobodies have a huge impact for society and if false information can make people even more mad. Look at what happened to Brian Williams on NBC. His incident was minor but had huge impacts. We need to be careful of political nobodies.

        Grace said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm

        This idea that individuals felt comfortable enough to make a stance with the social media and ‘political nobodies’ I bet this affected women as was part of their story during the uprisings. The presentation given in the video he talked about how women in the Arab world made up 34% of Facebook users where the global average is 50%. Women are often oppressed because of their gender. This sense of being amongst the fewest users but still being apart of this major revolt was showing their courage and their ability to take part in a political time! Women opinions probably would be very important during this time because they understand working a system that can knowingly and unknowingly oppress their opinions.

    Rob said:
    March 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    The Arab Spring was a “demographic revolution” that was led my the youth in the Arab world. People in the Arab world started to think bigger and better things could happen to them socially and politically if there was some sort of revolution. While people in the Arab world started to rethink their social lives, a massive platform to express your opinion was on social media. Since it is either against the law, or taboo, to speak out in public against your government in many Arab countries the internet and social media gave people more protection to speak out. The use of technology really gave rise to the Arab Spring and allowed people to find their voice. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can bring citizens from around the world together and fighting for a similar cause. People can raise awareness of issues that can reach people all over the world. Social media has a very rare ability to make someones local issues global issues.
    The emergence of Social media as a tool for change has given governments problems. Governments can make internet access impossible and block social media but even that doesn’t seem to work. In Syria when the government blocked the internet the people just viewed it as another reason to take to the streets and revolt. Governments want to be able to control their citizens and social media gives governments less control when you live in an oppressive society.
    The Arab Spring brought vast change to many countries but it wouldn’t have happened without the use of social media. Social media entitles people, maybe to much, to express themselves and I think its become one of the most influential platforms in our society.

      Reed said:
      March 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Rob, I agree that these social media platforms have given the public a voice to question and critique the government. In terms of individuals living within a suppressive regime, I believe the sense of anonymity allows users/protesters to be more active and aggressive in the social media environment. For example, Twitter does not force its users to use their full names. Instead, they are allowed to create Twitter handles that can consist of almost any creative name. I believe many protesters are allowed to hide behind these handles that grant them a sense of security from the suppressive regimes.

        Rob said:
        March 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm

        Yes thats a good point. They could feel more secure and “hidden” from the eyes of the opposition if they create a fake name or handle. This allows the protestor to be more aggressive and active on their social network. It is pretty crazy to think about protests and gatherings before social media and the internet. People would have to literally walk the streets and, under government watch, spread the word by mouth. Its amazing how much easier these movements have become.
        I also wanted to bring up the point that on social media certain people have certain reputations and carry some amount of influence. The amount of followers you have matters because what you say on that platform will be seen by a lot of people. Therefore, it matters who is saying what on social media. A tweet about the Syria crisis will carry more weight and influence if it is tweeted by someone who is reputable. Overall, it is important to question information on social media, not everything comes from someone who knows what their talking about.

      Jonathan Wagner said:
      March 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Rob, I like how you talked about how powerful social media is, even when offline. The example of Syria that you mentioned and was discussed in the video really captured my attention. When citizens of Syria began to speak out on social media, the government shut down the Internet in hopes of stopping the protesting. However, this backfired and the citizens viewed it as another reason of why they should stand up against the government. This example, like I said before, shows how powerful social media is now in our world. The triple revolution has incorporated technology into our every day lives. As we look to the future I believe social media will soon play another important factor towards revolutions and movements.

        reed mcleod said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:35 pm

        Rob, solid point regarding how it is important to question whether a particular user on social media is credible or not. This argument reminds of the panel discussion video when the male speaker refers to the political groups that attempt to disrupt the Friday protesting events. Although these social media platforms give individuals a tool that has never existed before, not every person will use them in a correct fashion. Some may even go further to use these platforms in order to destroy a democratic cause, as shown in the panel discussion.

    reed mcleod said:
    March 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    One point that I would like to focus greater on is the role the internet has even when it is completely offline. As shown in both Egypt and Tunisia, the attempt by the government to block the internet actually backfired the initial plan of suppressing individuals. The blocking of the internet polarized the people of Egypt while unifying them through ways that would of never been thought of before the internet (a physical forum wall that resembled a facebook wall). After viewing this segment I became aware on how activism will never been the same due to the internet. Even in this example where the internet was completely offline, the protesters in Egypt shaped their cause around a model that represents the logistics of a social media platform. As it was shown in Syria where the ban on the internet was lifted, I believe other countries will use this as an example on what not do to during massive protest. Although it may seem like a smart idea to suppress the masses in the short term, it will most likely backfire by adding fuel to the fire.

      Mike Gellman said:
      March 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      I think this is a really important point when looking into what the future holds in terms of governments trying to oppress their citizens. The invention of the internet has made it almost impossible to hide unjust things from citizens in the way it was done in the past. Even in China, where they have the most extensive internet censorship in the world, there are still parts where activists can discuss and share ideas without being disrupted by their government. And like you said, if it is taken off-line all together it will be a reason to come together against the government. I am under the opinion that this global cyber network will never be completely tamed and there will always be places for activists can evade censorship.

      Andrew Wanamaker said:
      March 29, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Yes that is is one the most critical insights you can take away from the article by Zhuo, Wellman, and Yu. SMS messages seem to be one of the biggest factors that brought out the April 6th Youth Movement establishing a new modern type of movements that despite being blocked through social media outlets like Facebook and twitter there are other viable options. It is evident that the new modern Egyptian youth’s are looking for adequate change. These movements did not happen over night they took years, however the technology has allowed the traditional word of mouth to inform beyond the kinship and friendship networks. Beyond the internal channels, social media and technology have created channels across national borders. Countries are able to share a similar experience and gain the attention outside of the domestic realm. Social medias biggest factor that has allowed movements to draw on mass attention is that social media builds a sense of community and minimizes the feeling of isolation. It also becomes platforms where discontented Egyptians can voice their frustrations, share experiences, and over come the fears that come along with living under oppressive regimes. The triple revolution that 1. turns to social networks 2. the proliferation of the far flung instantaneous internet 3. the wider proliferation of alway available mobile phones has allowed political activism to be successful in certain arenas but left many countries plagued with uncertainty and violence through this long exhausting transition.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Yes the tactic of taking the internet offline can really go bad, you can actually discuss your ideas about the potential the internet has on political activism with examples from the video

      Max Johnson said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      Reed, I agree with your point about how suppressing internet use seems to only add fuel to the fire. In our daily lives we consistently utilize the internet to connect, explore, and inquire and it seems that internet use has molded into an inherent freedom. What I found shocking and you eluded to this in your post was how the internet, especially social media sites, shaped the way people organize and protest against institutions. Modeling a protest after the way Facebook is organize only shows how powerful social media sites have on the individual. The impact of the internet on the individual is so grand it’s difficult to quantify.

      Kyle Swartz said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Reed I agree with the points you’ve made in this post and your right about how it was interesting to see how the government shutting down the internet affected the motivation of the activist. I also mentioned this in one of my blog posts and discussed the fact that Fadi Salem showed statistics of more than 50% of people in Egypt and Tunisia believed that it encouraged them even further once the internet was being blocked by the government. This increased the drive of the people of Egypt and Tunisia due to the fact that the government was reiterating that they were ill-fit to be in control. It was also mentioned that the activists used cell phones to get onto social media as well as street lights to charge their phones during the protests. No matter how hard the government tries, they can not impose control over all of this technology… which is why social media was the perfect tool to be used during the Arab Spring.

    Nick Moffitt said:
    March 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    After watching the two videos and the article, I came to the conclusion that the article titled “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” was the most intriguing in terms of social media impacting the Arab Spring, which is why this post will focus on that. What really struck me was the undeniable impact social media had on the revolts in Egypt. Social media played a massive role in mobilizing and organizing the revolts in Egypt during the course of the Arab Spring. Social media in Egypt gave the citizens of the country a growing passion to revolt in order to obtain what they wanted, democracy and modernity. What the article really stressed was the generalizations about middle eastern nations not wanting a democracy. That argument is false, people of the middle east want democracy implemented, however because of corrupt leadership it is much harder to accomplish the feat of having a democracy. With the evolution of social media and the tremendous influence it has, there now will be more revolts occurring with the goal of creating a democracy. The most underrated aspect of social media in my mind is how quick and efficient it is to spread thoughts and ideas, much quicker than word of mouth will ever be. Because of this it is much easier for thoughts and ideas to be spread.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Nick the acceleration of spread of thoughts and ideas can be great as well as a problem too, based on who controls the internet and who control’s the dominant voice but Arab Spring is a classic example of how ordinary people get to activate themselves in political movements, you could elaborate your observations taking some examples from the videos

      Zayn Thompson said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Moffit, I like your comment on how social media gave the citizens of the country to revolt. Social media gathers everyone together in one place online, when in reality they could be far apart, so I definitely agree that social media gave them a sense of unity, and even the mindset that they could garner up enough support to succeed in their movements. Another good point you bring up is the efficiency of spreading information. On social media, when you post it is like you are talking to everyone at once. I do agree that the proficiency of using social media technologies is a big part of its effectiveness, as, like you said, spreading ideas person to person won’t really get a movement much traction.

    Ibrahim Khan said:
    March 29, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    The fact that the Egyptian Revolution started through face book itself proves that social media and internet are important tools for bringing people together working for a similar cause. I agree with the article “Eqypt: The First Internet Revolt?” that social media creates a sense of community and modernity among people. It is a platform where people are free to express and share their thoughts, opinions and experiences. Information sharing is quick, and millions of people can be reached out in seconds. The article mainly argues that no doubt the credit goes to the Egyptian people for standing up against an unfair government and leader, but social media has also been a great reenforcing tool of information and communicating with fellow citizens. I like the point Nick has raised that due to evolution of social media there will be further revolts for creating democracy. This is why I think the Arab Spring has been spreading immensely in the last few years. People have realized that they have the power to challenge corrupt governments by exposing them on media and thus gaining strength from other fellow citizens.The leaders realize the power of social media too, the ones who do not have to deal with mass protests which can potentially throw them out of power which has been a common trend in the past few years in many Arab countries. The video “Images of Revolution revolves around how much strength an image is capable of having that it can topple a government. There is a big difference in just hearing an account of an event than witnessing it with ones own eyes. As one person in the video said ” images are like weapons, they can help topple a regime” The video of a Tunisian young man burning himself outside the parliament was one of the early images that received global attention and united citizens to fight against the corrupt leader. .The guy standing in front of a water tanker fueled the movement in Egypt. Images that capture these events and acts make millions of people realize what seemed impossible at one point is actually possible. This instills great amount of courage and hope and persuades viewers to act in the same manner for a better future.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      I guess Ibrahim what I think you also can discuss is how acts of bravery, acts of single people which would have gone unnoticed in political protest movements have become symbols of defiance, such events were able to make powerful political images because of the social media.

        Ibrahim Khan said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm

        If talking about the Egyptian revolution the biggest example of symbol of defiance is Khaled Said. Khaled Said was a young Egyptian in his late 20’s who was brutally beaten by two policemen. He eventually died after the beating continued for more than twenty minutes. Some say the reason police was after him was he was against the Mubarak regime. His unfortunate death sparked the main strong wave of revolution which only kept growing with time against the Mubarak regime. “We are all Khaled Said”, a face book page was created which gained instant attention and received support from millions of Egyptians to topple Mubarak regime. Even today the page still exists. The page has three million supporters. If social media like face book did not exist, there is a high chance that this would have gained so much attention. Facebook made it possible for people to see Khaled’s pictures, who seemed like a regular Egyptian boy which made him connect with everyone. The page also informed people of the actual detailed account of the horrifying incident, which the TV channels initially were not providing. One article I read about Khaled Said stated “the twenty minutes it took to beat the life out of his(Khaled’s) body, changed Egypt forever”.

      Michael Edson said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      I like how you think that social media creates a community because it allows for many people all over the world to agree on situation. The one thing I am worried about social media like you say is that government need to be worried about what happens on social media. There are good and bad that comes from social media but as we saw with the extreme with the revolution we need to be careful. What i am trying to say is what is your opinion on if social media can hurt a functioning government or help a government?

        Zoë Kagan said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        Mike, I think that social media has inherently liberating properties. These are usually seen as beneficial for a people. Of course, sometimes government functions differently which creates conflict in some cases. In the West, as many of us have mentioned previously in this forum, many often observe conflict in the Middle East including the Arab Spring movements as ones that do not allow for democracy. I think that the problem however lies in the foundation of the government. With that being said, protests would be beneficial in order to change the government through social media movements which are revolutionary in creating the space for protest.

        Ibrahim Khan said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:19 pm

        True, there are good and bad things that come from social media. And while it is a great tool to voice opinions and spread awareness for a great cause, it can also be misused by groups or individuals to manipulate stories to hurt the government as discussed in some earlier blogs. From my understanding the former can be practiced by non state actors, opposition parties or even the government itself.Thinking from the perspective of the government, there is indeed a necessity to be worried about what happens on social media. There is a tendency that social media can be used for encouraging unnecessary anti government activities, that too by extremist groups who wear a different mask but actually are working for their malicious hidden agendas. Cases like these certainly require serious attention.
        At the same time social media can immensely help the government as long as it keeps it citizens sincerely happy. In the case of unnecessary criticism, the government through social media can remind people of the work and services it has produced for its citizen. It can remind people the progress country is making economically, politically, and internationally and therefore convince people not to fall for the unwarranted claims being advertised against the government.
        I hope that answered your question.

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 29, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Do you guys think that the Arab Spring aftermath brought out more problems with instability, violence, and fewer freedoms as a part of the natural process of revolutions? It is apparent that the ultimate goal of these public uprisings and mass mobilizations is to bring peace, democracy and stability, and to spread positive influences across the Middle East and North Africa beyond where it originated. I have looked beyond the scope of the two films and article’s that were presented to us to look and see what has been accomplished across the spectrum. Taking a closer look at certain countries in the Arab world it is evident that there is still much uncertainty about the future and whether or not these movements have accomplished the initial goal.

    Yemen is one country that has been in turbulence for years. Going back to my early post this country is unable to establish trust between its government leaders and citizens due to widespread poverty. There is a severe loss of legitimacy and much of the countries responsibilities have been left in the hands of terroist groups. Ali Abdullah Saleh had been the presidential leader for 33 years however in 2011 the first wave of serious threats broke out. Different security forces countered back with violent crackdowns that left many people dead and wounded. There was a power transfer deal that changed the hands of power to Vice President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi and the ministry felt very optimistic about what would occur in the future however things have still not gotten better. The capital of Sanaa has been taken over by the Houthis which is a Shiite muslim minority group and accomplished pushing out Hadi out of the country even though he claims to be the legitimate president. These terror groups take advantage of power vacuums to help thrive and more recently we have seen the negative impacts that ISIS has had and the way in which media has helped them progress and unify.

    Tunisia is where the Arab spring was born in December 2010. Mohamed Bouazizi was a college graduate who could not find work in the labor market so he chose to sell vegetables as a street vendor in order to support his family. The 26 year old set himself on fire in front of a government building when he was confronted by a police officer for not have a vendor permit. This symbolizes the extreme social unjustness that were taken place in Tunisia. Some believe that extremist behaviors are the only way to spark change. However four years later the country is still facing issues. Despite institutional reforms, democratic elections, and limited uprisings many Tunisians have fled to Iraq and Syria to fight as Jihadists which singles the major economic challenges the state still faces. There is high levels of unemployment, uneven income distributions and still limited dopporunty for the educated youth. More recently ISIS has claimed recognition for the attack on the Bardo Museum in which 23 people were killed.

    Egypt activists were inspired by the Tunisian’s attempt to challenge the economic inequalities and corruption. The Egyptians hit the streets in late January 2011 to mass protest against President Hosni Mubarak which gained success when Mubarak decided to to not run for re election as he was president for 30 years. Social media gave activists in Tahrir Square to do something that would of not been possible without the advancements in technology. I found a separate article online that quoted a 70 year old grandmother Nadia Fahmy who elaborated that “I am here to vote for the first time in my life.” Morsy in 2013 was over ridden by the North African Nations military and called the coup “correction.” It is a common theme that in the short run it appears the goals will be achieved however few leaders can achieve it when the military intervenes.

    Syria is another nation that has had significant problems since its initial March 2011 protest of children writing graffiti on walls of a Daraa school. Approximately 15 children were arrested and President Bashar al-Assad tried appeasing the 48 year old state of emergency and allowing a decree to the right of peaceful protest. The last four years have been quite turbulent. More than 200,000 Syrians have been killed and 800,000 wounded. It seems that Syria is not accomplishing the original hopes of peace transitions and it is contingent day to day where destruction and deaths are a common occurrence. Isis has found the vacuum of power and been able to infiltrate the weak spots of civilization by gaining territory.

    Has anyone found information that can counter this? Or provide insights into why the transition period may in fact be more rocky? We see that technology can bring out consistent flaws but does it give more energy to the opposition?

      Rob said:
      March 29, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      I agree that the aftermath of the Arab Spring hasn’t been what it was hyped up to be but change takes a long time and many years. Countries like Egypt and Syria still have major social, political, and economic issues that make the countries unstable. I think that in order to see real change in these countries the governments must create a more equal and less traditional laws to better their citizens lives. Less radical governments tend to be more sustainable and logical. Technology is still young and research on the influence that technology has on society is also in the early stages. I would have to think that more revolutions will happen in the future and social media will play an instrumental role in the process of those revolutions.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      I find your deep analysis a good effort, I guess there are deep seated structural problems when it comes to the countries you have analysed and of course larger geo politics at play, but still technology plays a big role in telling the plight of many people in these regions, uncovering atrocities, challenging media narratives of big players etc.

      Ibrahim Khan said:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      It seems right to say that Arab spring has brought more problems such as instability and violence in the region. I think it is bound to happen, when there is so much vacuum to be filled. You have mentioned about ISIS taking advantage of the vacuum, and this is the main reason why problems arise. When there is no strong central power, everyone wants to try and become powerful, thus groups like ISIS see them selves survive in these uncertain circumstances. This is also a reason for the interference by the Army, when it sees the politicians are failing the state, and groups like ISIS are gaining strength, the Army feels the need to intervene.
      However, temporarily there may be some additional problems created by the Arab spring, but it makes me feel in the long run things will get better for the region in terms of democracy keeping in mind that it may take many years to getting used to a new system.

    Cam Hickey said:
    March 29, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Both talks by Fadi Salem and Zeynep Tutekci presented some interesting concepts regarding social media and its impact on the Arab Spring. Fadi discusses that while the use of Social Media skyrocketed during the Arab Spring, there were many instances where the increased use of online conversation may have had some negative impacts as well. While this may be true, there is no doubt that without the presence of social media the revolutions in the Arab world could have never took and if they did it could have resulted in a different outcome. To me, it seems that all the different aspects of the Arab Spring just happened to all coincide with each other at the right time to create these revolutions. There was a youth bulge in the population at the time with many young individuals dissatisfied with the way their countries were being run. When you add the presence of social media that was just introduced a couple years before it, allowed the citizens to express this discontent in a way that was never seen before. While their pluralistic ignorance may have kept them quiet in the past, the access to social media gave them an avenue to voice their concerns and organize. And like Zeynep stated this had a cascading effect in the region, where more and more individuals began to see how social media and the internet took away that fear of being the first one to demand change. The Images of the Revolutions video was interesting as well with the idea that in times like these an image can be used as a weapon. I liked this idea because it follows the same theme of a peaceful protest. Where protesters can engage in a powerful mental fight against their oppressors, as opposed to a physical one. But this is not the first time in history where we have seen examples of this. The Tiananmen Square protest by one single individual created an image that captivated the world. The same idea happened in the Arab Spring, but the use and presence of Social Media only helped broadcast these images across the globe in real time.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Cam, I think the idea of power of image as a weapon can be further explored, this is biggest different from Tienanmen because the image was circumvented…

        Cam Hickey said:
        March 29, 2015 at 9:15 pm

        I guess instead of using the word “weapon” the film could have said that the use of an image was more of a tool to rally the people. When you look at a specific image, for instance a picture of Mohamed Bouazizi you see a martyr who’s images were not an attack against the government, rather a way of sparking a revolution. If I actually wanted to get technical and i may be just looking into this way more deeply than i should, i would consider an “image” as a “bullet”. The computer or social media site where the image was posted should be the weapon and the blogger the soldier. In this day in age, we may begin to see less physical confrontation between governmental troops and revolutionaries, but rather a guerilla war of online attacks and rallying cries that unite the average citizens together in a safe environment.

        reed mcleod said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:08 pm

        Cam, I agree with your comment regarding how guerilla warfare will shift towards online attacks as humans invest more of life onto the internet. I don’t believe it would be wrong to assume that this guerilla warfare is already taking place. Although, I am skeptical whether this shift will replace physical concentrations. I believe physical violence will always be necessary in order to overthrow a regime.

    jsroot11 said:
    March 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    After reading the majority of all the posts, I have come to a conclusion that mostly everyone has agreed that social media has played a major part in the political upheavals in the Arab World. The films have made it clear that the ability to connect over the internet using facebook, Youtube, blogging etc has allowed individuals to grow into groups up people who all share similar ideologies. These platforms allowed planned protestors to organize and execute their protests. Social media and the internet, and the use of cell phones have contributed greatly to the Arab world, as well as Northern Africa. How ever, on the argument of which had more affect on the movements, the internet or the people, my opinion leans towards the people. There is no question the internet and new technology played a major role, how ever, I feel it only contributed to speeding things up. The movements would have never been successful if it was not for the large groups of people who came together.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      You could actually elaborate this argument, which is a very good point the fact how people and technology intersect in creating powerful political outcomes, that is a good reading of it

        jsroot11 said:
        March 29, 2015 at 9:20 pm

        People using technology, the use of Youtube or social media, or the internet as a whole allows pushing a cause to the forefront. meaning, technology is a tool for people to bring forward issues to political representatives front doors. People have the ability to use technology to make issues more personal, urgent, and important. If governments are surrounded by media that demands change or no change, governments will have to act on these request. In return, major political outcomes are shaped by people using technology to shape their society and government.

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Jon I completely agree with the point that you made in regards to the effect of the people have compared to the actual internet and new technologies. Social media plays an imminent role in increasing awareness on certain hot topics throughout society. The internet is scene as a driving force, but at the end of the day the people hold the ultimate power. They are in fact the driving force because without their willingness to come together, the effect of the internet would be minimal. It is obviously an important component, but I feel that the people are the basis of our society and they truly ignite social change.

      Max Johnson said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Interesting question and I think I have to agree with your assertion that the people were the main drivers of the revolution, not the innovations of the internet. In history, oppressive regimes have usually at some point been contested by a group of people seeking to change the inherent nature of the institution. And this was all done without the internet. However, the advent of new technology has historically played a role in enabling the start of revolutions and I think the internet, in the case of the Arab spring, served as a catalyst for what was inevitably going to happen. The role of technology as a catalyst for change is not just applicable to modern times. Back in the 16th century, Martin Luther, who is considered the driving force behind the Protest Reformation, wrote the famous Ninety-Five Theses by hand and supposedly posted it to the door of the local church. This in itself was an act of revolt but it was just one act committed by one man. So how did the words of Martin Luther spread virally throughout Europe and ultimately chang the scope of Western religion? The answer is the development of the printing press, which enabled Martin Luther and his followers to rapidly print and distribute Luther’s words very effectively. Within months, the Ninety-Five Theses were read and made famous across Europe. This shows how the introduction of technology into the cauldron of political or in the case religious fervor can have a powerful impact on the course of the revolution. The internet acted similarly as the printing press did but obviously with greater capabilities. The internet was a tool the people used to connect, organize and express their feelings about their political situation while at the same type a platform for distributing ideas conceived by the people using it.

    jsroot11 said:
    March 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    In addition to my last post, I want to question the strength of social media. If social media claims to be the driving factor towards these revolutions and movements, why has social media continued to bring forward more towards social change, Such as freedom of press or freedom of expression. It seems, in my opinion that after cases such as Egypt, the use of social media has slowed down…

      Andrew Wanamaker said:
      March 29, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Actually I think that in Egypt social media has increased. Social media demographics have grown quite a bit in Egypt, it started with about a million people at start of 2011 on Facebook and today it has grown up to 8 million people. At the time it was primarily people with English language capabilities, middle class, and young educated students. If you look at user trends today you will see a larger portion in Egypt of people using Facebook in Arabic. If social media reaches and becomes representative in main population you will have a better representation of what is going on beyond the elite leaders. It is a “pandora box” everyone using the same tools pushing their agenda. You have violent groups, extremist groups, government groups, conservatives, it is all society using it beyond just pushing freedom, it is amplifying every aspect of society.

        Jonathan Wagner said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:13 pm

        Well Andrew, i do not believe you are understanding his point. Yes, social media has increased in Egypt and Arab World, but Jonathan is arguing that social movement towards political, and social, changes have slowed down. We are not seeing the powerful changes that we have seen in the past, as prevalent today. You are simply looking at wikipedia information, rather then understanding the argument.

    Jonathan Wagner said:
    March 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    After reading the previous comments by my fellow classmates and the article “Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?” I have found that most of the attention has been focused on what played a greater role in the revolts in Egypt. Some say that social media played a greater role in the revolt. Other scholars say that the people played a more important role by taking to the streets in protest. Throughout the beginning of the article it examines how social media was used as a tool in order to try and remove Mubarky. Social Media played many important roles but I believe one of the most important roles is how social media’s international reach can help amplify local conflicts to a global level. One quote that I really liked from the article discusses the triple revolution. “ The ways in which the revolt played out more subtly suggests that, much like Western societies, parts of Egyptian society are transforming away from tradition groups and towards more loosely structured networked individualism…Egypt, we see the same manifestation of the triple revolution that has happened in Western societies.” Through the triple revolution of the social network revolution, Internet revolution, and mobile revolution, the new social operating system has resulted in the rise of networked individuals.

    I believe that both social media and the people of Egypt played equal roles because the Internet has become a part of our everyday lives. The two worlds are being joined and will only grow closer as new technological advances are made. Facebook and Twitter were the two most influential social medias because it helped organized groups of people together and it was very cheap. Without each other, social media and the Egyptian people, the revolt who not of been as successful.

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Jon you make some really interesting points in your post that I agree with. With the increasing number people in social network, internet, and mobile users, has created a platform to have a large voice be heard. Through these outlets individuals have been able to connect and create groups to unify with each other on certain perspectives relating to social movements. All of these advancements in technology have made connecting people easier, but ultimately the people hold the ultimate power as to coming together and voicing their opinions. They are the physical piece to getting the point across, but I agree that both social media and the people intertwine into making a stronger societal impact.

      Nick Ford said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Jonathan I think you did a great job analyzing and taking a stance on the topic. After reading your post, your statement “I believe that both social media and the people of Egypt played equal roles because the Internet has become a part of our everyday lives. The two worlds are being joined and will only grow closer as new technological advances are made” really stood out to me, and I couldn’t agree with you more. We have evolved into a society where technology and social advancements are being made at a very quick pace. Without the influence of social media in the protests, it would not have been nearly as successful, if at all. Social media gave the protesting nations and individuals a powerful voice that could heard and that was easily spread.

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Harinda I was only able to compile information on the google drive from the article and one video featuring Fadi Salem and Zeynep Tufekci, the other source was not the correct format to view. I think when we talk about social media and the potential it has on political activism we have to look at the ways it is used and managed by different groups collectively. The video inferred that Facebook has been a useful tool for protesting within a country that is protesting where twitter plays a key role acting as a bridge between getting news within a country to the outside world. Social media does not establish a point that the Tunisians learned it allowed them to talk to their fellow Egyptians. It is not just about what you know, it is what you know that others know…and that they know…. Looking at some of the facts that were presented in the documentary we learn that 48 percent of communication was face to face, 28.3 was via Facebook, the phone/sms was 13.1, Satellite Television was 13.1 and 6 was other sources.

    Where the internet plays a key role in political activism is that when families or individuals have internet at home it is correlated with the higher levels of protest and participation however the platforms in which new ideas are generated is the most important. Where social media acts as an important catalyst is through the protest participation on the first day. Understanding whether social media has fixed problems you need to look at the idea that social media produces participation that was once not available, and what that more participation means is not more democracy because as we have seen participation can lead to things that are not always positive.

    This is not a new schema because we have learned how crucial the tape recorder was in terms of media revolutions during the 1979 Iranian revolution.The tape recorder was a main driver of the Iranian revolution as a way to flow information in different ways. With social media we have more links in an open space of networks that allow for trust in users that are generated. It becomes faster and less controllable, and creates endless trust links. One link generates a real and right thing to cut upon in the trust circle. Previous to social media people did not have access because there was not free parliaments or representation of free media, now there is a channel with mass people effectively making changes.

    This ultimately parallels with the current Arab spring which comes from the 1848 definition spring time of the people. The 1979 revolution was a small media interpersonal challenging the public sphere like “today” within the same dynamics but more crude and slower in time. Social media ultimately is a way to challenge the public sphere. You cannot define social media as a magic wound, it is the the political organizers that form the back bone and there are smaller networks that are embedded within each-other.

    Michael Edson said:
    March 29, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    When watching the video of “Images of Revolution” I got a better understanding of how an image can be very powerful. When people were filming the events of protest it was inspiring to watch to because each video had a different meaning of how the government reacted. If it was not for those people who took those videos, there would be a different meaning of the situation. I have friends on the squash team from Egypt telling me how powerful the protest was but I didn’t really know what was happening. Now seeing what happened in Egypt changed my opinion of the revolution. Seeing what happened makes a difference on a persons opinion and putting those videos on social network was a smart idea by those people. Putting videos on facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat gives people a view of what is happening. Seeing events of the protest and how the law enforcement acted gives other people an opinion of the situation. I believe that video is the most powerful and reliable type of posting. It gives people a view of what is happening at a certain situation and spreading the news is important to helping a movement gain attention.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      I like the way you personalized the video, when it challenges your own opinions, personal can become political, what do you see as the political implications of protests going online? you can discuss image issues like how people saw Egypt? and even when protests broke out in Ferguson there were many parallels drawn to the image heavy uprisings..

        Michael Edson said:
        March 29, 2015 at 10:37 pm

        What happened in Ferguson still gives me mixed emotions. The news coverage about the incident was great but the comments of the incident made me feel as if I did something wrong for an action I never committed. When I went online for news about the situation the debate about if the action was racist or hate crime interesting to look at. When people started to post more information about Michael Brown I got a better situation about who he was. There was some information that was not reliable but the point of this is that there was a social awareness of the incident. When Egypt blocked the internet in the goal of stopping the protests, the idea backed fired as Fadi Salem said in the panel talk. That was the worst decision of the political movement. When millions of people are protesting online about a certain situation, governments are out of control of the situation. Going online for a political protest is the best option because it is easy to get followers and governments can not place people in jail for using freedom of speech. That’s the power of online social media. Egypt has gone through two revolutions and starting online was just the beginning of the revolution.

      Cam Hickey said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike its interesting that you were able to get a first hand account of the actual events that happened in Egypt but i do agree with what you said about how the videos being posted seemed to inform the public the most of what was actually happening on the ground. Without the use of social media we would have never realized the extent of what was happening while we watched here in the US, while at the same time the protesters would have never been able to organize like they did.

        Ibrahim Khan said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:37 pm

        I agree, videos posted inform the public what actually is happening on ground. Watching something has a far more impact on someone than just listening to a story or reading about it. Before watching the documentary about Egyptian revolution I had only heard and read about it, but the strongest impact it had on me was after watching the short clips shown in the documentary.
        Talking about the power of videos,it reminds of last year’s incident that happened between Israel and Gaza. The clips posted online showed soldiers beating unarmed civilians in front of their young children. Watching these videos gives a feeling to the viewer of the actual situation.

    Ryan Hackett said:
    March 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    In the past 8 years or so the Social Media phenomenon has spread throughout many cultures in our society. It has taken off and has had a profound effect on the Arab world in particular. From these videos and one article that we read, I took away that it has had much more of an impact than just being a “social” platform, but rather has been used as an outlet for political momentum and reform. As the Arab Spring got underway a large portion of the protesters were of the younger generation. Fire power from these movements in large part stemmed from the increasing number of individuals joining facebook in the Arab region. According to the video the number of facebook users in the Arab world grew from 18 million in October of 2010 and then jumped to 34 million in October 2011, as the Arab Spring took off, and then as of April 2012 it had rounded out at roughly 43 million users. Many of these users had the intention to use it to revolutionize new social norms and create economic and democratic freedoms amongst their countries. These facts allude to my point of the effect of people compared to technology. In my opinion I feel technology has definitely ramped up in terms of connecting more people and comprising a sense of more unified communities. But this is not all possible without the impact of humans. At the end of the day technology can help people come together, but the action of revolution is taken by the person. Without that main component, there is no technology to help spread vital news to society.

      Zoë Kagan said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      It is interesting to consider social media as a tool that surpasses what we might consider to be “social.” While I might “like” my friends photo on instagram, it certainly doesn’t have the same weight as joining a movement on Facebook that materializes in organized demonstrations and protest. I agree with you on the fact that the most important part of the movements is the power of people actualizing in protests. Social media also plays an important part in this after the fact as well by showing that people did show up and successfully protest in many cases. Images of protests impact a lot for other audiences to see, usually via social media, in order for more global support or continued steam for the movement.

      Nick Ford said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Ryan, I really enjoyed reading your post and I completely agree with the stance you made on social media being more than a “social” platform. Social media has evolved into an outlet for political momentum and reform. When thinking about this idea, I immediately began to think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how contagious it became due to the momentum established on Facebook. Just like the spread of charitable causes and advocacy campaigns, politics can be viewed in a similar fashion. Politicians and governing campaigns have learned to exploit the perks of what social media can offer, and how powerful it has become in spreading messages and creating momentum for that cause.

    Max Johnson said:
    March 29, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    After watching the videos and reading the article I feel social media had a significant impact on the course of the revolts that took place in Egypt. However, the proliferation of social media was certainly not the only driving force behind the revolts and maybe not even the most significant. I think you can make the point that innovations in technology, like smart phones, played a larger role in shaping the course of the revolution because these devices virtually connected the entire population. Facebook and Twitter were vital to the cause because they offered a platform for people to express their own opinions while serving as a medium to organize rallies and protests. Yet, without smart phones, the role of Facebook and Twitter would have decreased. The counter to this argument would contend that even without smart phones people could access these sites on their personal computers, however, the article mentions how the majority of people who participated in the protests predominately used their mobile devices to access these social media platforms. Connecting, organizing, and ultimately protesting tends to happen on the move, which made smart phones so imperative to the Arab Spring. The innovations in technology and the introduction of this technology to the Middle East is the underlying factor that prompted such a massive revolt.

      Michael Edson said:
      March 29, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I agree with your statement of how the phones were an important part of how these people got their information about where the protests will be. Getting information on a phone was an important impact to the revolution because when I look at my phone I am never in my room. I am always out of my room with friends and people. If i heard of a protest, I would tell the people I am around to spread the news. Being with other people can help spread the news. I want to ask you. Do you think the evolving of technology is making a political impact?

        Max Johnson said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:19 pm

        I think the proliferation of technology, especially how it effects people on a social level, is definitely making a political impact. There is a pretty clear trend that suggests more and more people are consistently connecting, interacting, and socializing through mediums like phones and social media sites. I believe that this trend will continue with further advances in technology and ultimately shift the way people think politically. One example is how the people of Egypt reacted to when the government cut the cords on the internet. The reaction by the people suggested that they believe the internet and the ability to use the internet was a natural freedom that everyone should share regardless if it is used against the government. This shows how the internet has evolved into something larger than just a nifty piece of technology. The internet has become rooted in our society.

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 29, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Max the statement you made about mobile phone usage in our society is right on point. Being able to communicate with each other through a cellular device has been vital in the way in which the general portion of society communicates with each other. Now in today’s world, it is easier than ever to contact individuals regarding any issue. Social media has played a significant role, but the uses of cell phones has made communication vastly easier. With that component, spreading information on societal issues, from neighbor to neighbor basis, has drastically helped increase awareness on various issues.

        Nick Ford said:
        March 29, 2015 at 11:38 pm

        Ryan, I also agree with the point you made above regarding Max’s statement about the impact of cellular devices.There are many promising and beneficial aspects to the power in which new media technologies have given our society, in the sense that communication and the availability of information and news is made very accessible to us. With the advancement in technology, social networking has become more portable than ever, as we are constantly carrying social media with us everywhere on our phone and devices. Social media allows us to remain connected with people from all over, by sending messages and pictures through Facebook and Twitter. Not only do social platforms allow us to maintain personal relationships through forms of private communication, but we also are able to publically share information. People use Facebook and Twitter to spread news and raise awareness, which made the Arab Spring protests so successful.

    Grace said:
    March 29, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    When I read this article for the Eygpt: The First Internet Revolt is that I could not get over the fact about how this revolution started and how it progressed. We look at the way the internet progressed the revolution but I think that what I learned is that the cultural atmosphere ignited the revolution that networking is amongst one of the major aspects that help kick start the flow of information. That those who spread the word of the revolt was a natural aspect to everyday life that over 72% of information was spread via friends and families. So when these social networks came out and became big getting word out was something that was not uncommon. So when a guy with only 26 followers on twitter submitted his ideas about the revolution over 3000 people read this from the networking within the state. I think from this we might not have given enough credit to the fact that the societal norm of spreading information was very important to the success of these events and that is something that should be celebrated because it worked so well hand in hand with social networking.

    Zayn Thompson said:
    March 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    In the second video, they brought up an important point of Arab women’s newfound empowerment. With access to social media, women in middle eastern countries (who usually don’t have the same rights, resources, or ability to make an impact like the men” can now make a bigger impact on the political environment as well as civil movements. Social media isn’t restricted to one type of gender or race (like some countries try to do in politics), but is available to everyone, allowing them to mobilize their opinions and disperse their information. However, right now arab women still haven’t been able to take advantage of this technology to its full potential, due to factors usually out of their control. Thus they only account for a small percentage of all social media users, including 34% of Facebook’s in the Arab world.
    I also earlier talked about the internationalization of their tech companies, and to Harinda’s comment of a win-win situation for the companies and the citizens who use it, the video brought up and interesting statistic which showed that the numbers of users more than doubled in the Arab world during the arab spring in a span of two years. So, the people are being able to use it for their movements, and the companies like Facebook are getting more users therefore more money, so it truly is a win-win situation.

    Nick Ford said:
    March 29, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, riots, and armed rebellions that spread throughout the Arab nations of the Middle East in 2011. The wave of the Arab Spring originated in Tunisia when the nation successfully rose against former leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, which became contagious for similar protests and movements throughout the region. The protest movement and riots steamed from the resentment of the Arab dictatorships, the issues with the security apparatus, and the economic fluctuation and corruption. Unlike previous mass anti-government protests, like the Communist Eastern Europe in 1989, there was no political and economic model established that could replace the existing governing systems. Protesting nations had numerous aspirations for reform, ranging from immediate transitions to a constitutional monarchy, gradual reform, and even overthrowing the president and powers in office. In an attempt to achieving an American-style liberal democracy, the Arab nations had a difficult time developing a reform program with effective political and economic policies that would be catalytic enough to make a beneficial difference.

    When looking at Arab Spring protests in an objective manner, one could argue that it was a failed attempt to replace and reform a history of authoritarian regimes with a stable democratic system. It also was not as effective in replacing the corrupt rulers in office and improving living standards. Even though the Arab Spring protests did not completely achieve the main purpose of rebellion against a corrupt governing body, it has become one of the most influential and renown protests due to the effective use of social media. Social media was used to help organize, communicate, and raise awareness about Arab Springs. Arab Springs had such a large impact because new media and communication technologies, including social media, have become fully entrenched in the social blanket of modern society. These tools have become powerful facilitators in democracy and social mobilization.

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