The Role of Social Networks in Revolutions

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The Role of Social Media in Revolutions

Otabek N Musoev

KIMEP University

Research Proposal

Today social networks are very popular tools for people, especially for teenagers, to keep in touch, share photos, videos and messages. Recent events in the Middle East and Northern Africa got me interested because in the forums all around the World Wide Web people represent the controversial versions about if the Arab Spring was caused by social media. The topic of my paper is the role social networks play in revolutions. In this paper I am going to conduct research on the role of social media during revolutions. I especially will consider actions countries take to avoid the social media revolution such as in Arab countries. The aim of this essay is to provide information about the importance of social media during the revolutions.

Today naming children after revolutionary faces and heroes is not a surprise, but it is really new for me to hear about a child named after a social network. Jamal Ibrahim, an Egyptian, was so inspired by the role of social media in recent Middle East revolutions that he gave his daughter the name “Facebook”. To explain giving such an unusual name to his daughter, Jamal Ibrahim says that the Facebook played a really great role in keeping people connected during revolt (The University of Virginia Magazine, 2011).

Facebook is an ordinary social network where the user can add new friends to a friendlist. Friends on Facebook can follow each other’s posts and publications. The user of Facebook has his own blog which can be followed by friends and subscribers. Usually the information is spread by sharing it by other users and pressing “like” button. The key feature of Facebook is that everyone who uses it can create his own page and be its administrator. The administrator can add any information he wants to his page and post blogs and other content. The user can invite any of his friends to subscribe to this page, and then his friends can recommend his page to their own friends. Everyone subscribed on the page can leave their messages and make posts on the wall of the page. This is a very easy way to connect people by interest regardless of their age, gender and ethnicity. Today it is one of the most popular methods of spreading information.

Another very popular social network is Twitter. The principle of Twitter is similar to that of Facebook. The main difference is that on Twitter a page cannot be created. But that doesn’t make Twitter less interesting than Facebook. Most celebrities now use Twitter as a tool for connecting to their friends and for making them follow all the “tweets” they post on Twitter.

“Facebook helps organize people such as detailing how and where to gather physically, while Twitter is for “amplification”, enabling people in real time to share news and comment,” says Rafat Ali, founder of paidcontent.org about the difference between two social networks (The Wall Street Journal Online, 2011).

Recent events in the Middle East and Northern Africa show us that social networking can be a powerful tool for spreading revolution. “After analyzing more that three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content, and thousands of blog posts, a new study has concluded that the Arab Spring truly was fueled by social media”, says Kate Taylor, a journalist in BBC radio. Most of the content posted on social networks carried a great number of messages about liberty, freedom, and democracy across the Middle East and North Africa. People having an interest in democracy organized political actions which were spread by social media. Social networking became a very useful tool for freedom (TG Daily, 2011).

Khaled Mohamed Saeed, a young 28 year old Egyptian businessman, died after being arrested by Egyptian police in the area of Alexandria. As described by multiple witnesses,...
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