Social media has become increasingly prevalent in society. Websites such as Twitter and Facebook have become a vehicle for social change as can be seen in the recent revolutions in Egypt. The ramifications of these riots will resonate throughout the world for a while to come. However, it is the use of social media and how this may affect future governments that I wish to look at.
Nikki Usher refers to Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz in her article How Egypt’s Uprising Is Helping Redefine the Idea of a “Media Event” and discusses how some events can transcend from a news event and become a media event. An event treated with reverence by both broadcasters and the online community. It was the use of media such as Twitter and Facebook that allowed the individuals to instigate this revolution but also ensured that this event became one of global significance.
The riots in Egypt demonstrated how a media tool used primarily for the purpose of entertainment could be re-appropriated for a new purpose. While the revolution was not due to these various social networking tools, they certainly were used by protestors to communicate to a large number of people instantaneously – spreading the message to both the people in Egypt and across the world as the global nature of these sites allowed the event to be picked up all over the world.
But what do these revolts mean for the government not only in Egypt but worldwide? While it will be a while before all the effects of this revolution will be seen, it seems that tyranny will no longer be tolerated where a system of democracy is demanded by citizens. It must also be said that the social networking websites that helped to realise this revolution are still in their infancy. There is no telling how people in six months, one year or even five years time may come to use these websites and how they themselves may evolve.
Usher, N,. 2008.’ How Egypt’s Uprising Is Helping Redefine the Idea of a ‘Media Event’. Accessable:http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/. Last Accessed: 10 May 2011