Social Media Sparked and Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire

Could you choose an iconic image for the rebellions of the Arab Spring, a singled out one that comes to mind as defining of  the concept that united Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt. The truth is that the most accurate image is probably not the uprisings in Tahir Square, Cairo, nor is it the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Not even Mohammed Bouazizi’s death after setting himself ablaze, an act that ignited the evens that unfolded.

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Instead, the image to reflect on the protests is hardly as striking at first sight – it’s an arab person with a smartphone. They’re in the middle of Tahir Square tweeting a picture from the hotspot of events, they’re a nurse in an aid station posting about the serial case of a head injury from the missile strikes held by Mubarak’s supporters.

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The single hashtag which created a protest that circled the world

Or otherwise said – in the roots of #occupywallstreet

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If revolution previously meant talking to each other in various physical gatherings, straightening demands and planning actions, this has for a while, not necessarily, been the case.

Revolutions are not always bloody rebellions. Some revolutions unfold like natural phenomena, as when some catalyst under the surface creates a sudden shift and causes a society to erupt.

In essence, “revolution” signifies an idea whose time has come.

This, arguably, would have been why and how the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered enough momentum. However, it didn’t follow the notion of physical gatherings, but instead sparkled its revolutionary fire online.

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From Innovation to Revolution – the Power of Online.

Historically, oppressive regimes and dictatorial figures were opposed in a structured, subtle approach – through the formation of underground groups, propaganda activity in non-permitted newspapers, possibly broadcasting of coded radio messages.

7224223bb3235b90671e0d9d888ded8dIf revolution was secret, discretionary, single-handedly led by a minority of leaders, aimed at the majority of citizens, nowadays social media has completely redefined the face of revolution.

It is now instead public, global in cases, viral, powered, led and executed by the digitally empowered individual, no leaders, but millions of contributors.

Previously, in the revolution of the Eastern Bloc before the fall of the Berlin Wall, fax machines were a powerful communication tool. This was the case for Russia’s Bolshevik revolution too. Jihadists, later on, were known to use videotapes and cassettes to record and save their messages.

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