Sunday, February 6, 2011
Are we overhyping social media as a tool of movements for democracy?
Social media was widely recognized as a tool for popular movements demanding democratization in June 2009 when twitter feeds played a major role in eruption of street protests in Iran following the country’s fraudulent presidential elections. Then came Tunisia in December 2010 when a facebook page on the harrowing event of a 26 year old protester Mohammed Bouazizi setting himself ablaze fuelled wide scale street protests finally culminating in the overthrow of the regime President Zine al-Abidin Ben Ali .The genesis of the present unprecedented mass upsurge could be traced to the killing of Khaled Said from Alexandria, beaten to death by Police in June 2010. Said’s death spurred the creation of widely supported Facebook group-“We all are Khaled Said”. The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have both seen an increased use of social networking media such as Facebook and Twitter to help organize, communicate and ultimately initiate civil-disobedience campaigns and street actions.