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Read, Re-tweet, Revolt: An investigation into social media as agents of socio-political change

Read, Re-tweet, Revolt: An investigation into social media as agents of socio-political change

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Published by Daniel Cranney
An investigation into social media as agents of socio-political change
An investigation into social media as agents of socio-political change

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Published by: Daniel Cranney on Nov 26, 2011
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06/04/2013

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The complexity of the social, political, cultural and economic factors that preceded and

underlie the events of this year should not be understated. Even so, there is general

agreement amongst the participants in this study that SM has performed various critical

functions in the events of late. This is not to suggest that public access to social media

tools was the central motivating factor behind the events, but rather that these tools were -

and continue to be - employed by both citizens and authorities for a variety of uses, which

shall be discussed in the following two chapters.

The definitions of the events that have occurred in the ME and NA, as put forward by the

participants in this study, are telling of the discrepancies that exist amongst those directly

affected by the events, with regards to how they - are interpreted. As evidence of this, we

shall draw upon the definitions given by two bloggers within Egypt. Ahmed Fouda refers

to the events as “an awakening” (Fouda, 2011, [e-mail]), but states that he “would not go

as far as to call it a revolution” (Ibid.). In contrast, Amr Moneib boldly affords one specific

social networking website great value, describing the events as “a Facebook organized

revolution” (Moneib, 2011, [e-mail]).

The aforementioned interpretive disparities appear greater when we concentrate upon the

focal point of each definition. In her definition, Dina Batshon, a Jordanian citizen who

participated in demonstrations in the country, focuses upon particular acts of insurrection

within her home country of Jordan, rather than their consequences, referring to them as

“demonstrations… demanding ‘reform’ of the government” (Batshon, 2011, [e-mail]).

Conversely, ‘Naser’s’ statement that the events mark “the beginning of a new era… of the

Arab nations who had been under tyranny for the past 50-60 years” (‘Naser’, 2011, [e-

41

mail]) implies that the outcome of the events are of greater importance to some, than the

events themselves. This issue will be discussed at greater length in the following section.

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