Adrian Nikolov 2011University of Warsaw
It is rather safe to say that the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa that started in thebeginning of 2011 and came to be known as the “Arab spring” brought the wind of change tomany of the “democratic dictatorships”, which used to be the dominant political structure in theregion – many of the leaders, who used to govern the countries where the Arab spring happenedfor the last decades have now given up – or lost by force – power, and free, democraticelections have either delivered the rule to new, people-elected governments, or such electionsare on the way. Up to that part, one can say that such “chain revolutions” happened quite a fewtimes in the past – the most recent example being that of the dissolution of the former EasternBlock or the overthrowing of the dictatorships in Latin America. But, according to certainopinions, these revolutions have a feature, that distinguishes them from everything thathappened in the past: namely the fact that they used new methods of organization, discussionand idea dissemination. These are the means provided by the modern developments of theInternet – the ones known as social media, or, in the professional spheres – Web 2.0
. Theseinclude popular platforms used for communication by millions of people all over the world,like the networking site Facebook, video sharing platform YouTube, blogging tools likeWordPress and Blogger and the microblogging platform Twitter. Some statements even go asfar as to call the Arab spring “The Facebook revolution”
. The aim of the current text is tosummarize the data (statements, opinions and facts) and attempt to determine the role thatsocial media (as defined above) played in the revolution – was it only a medium that conductedinformation and helped coordination between the different groups and people or was it ratherthe very inspiration and driving force behind the events that took place in the Middle East andNorth Africa at the beginning of 2011. Due to the nature of my subject (and the fact that theevents in question are very recent) I'll only use web-based sources.
Web 2.0 is the term given to describe a second generation of theWorld Wide Webthat is focused on the abilityfor people to collaborate and share information online (
Definition according to Webopedia