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Saturday, February 12, 2011

This is so much more than a ‘webolution’ (Spiked)

This is so much more than a ‘webolution’

In the face of a historical rupture, and with events unfolding at dizzying speed, some find this a comforting thought: Egyptians have long suffered in silence, experiencing increasing levels of poverty and denial of basic freedoms. Then along came the start-up saviours of Twitter, Facebook and the rest, and finally there was change Egyptians could believe in.

But this Facebook fetishism gets things the wrong way around. There is no such thing as a ‘social media-led revolution’. What’s happening in Egypt today is a people-led upheaval, and it was not inspired or sparked by some Web 2.0 gizmo. As Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and human rights activist, told spiked: ‘We’ve been using social media for years, but the decision to take action now was taken by the people… It cannot be credited to the internet. What’s taking place on the streets today is completely the role of the Egyptian people. The internet is used as a tool only – to campaign, to spread information, to call people to protest.’ Abbas believes that the internet has facilitated political activism: ‘It has enabled people to communicate without using traditional means of communication that are controlled by the regime.’

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February 12, 2011 in Current Affairs, Web Culture | Permalink

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