Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, not only does information spread more quickly, but people are able to organize in larger and more efficient ways than ever before. This was not yet seen on such a large scale until the massive protests in Egypt that occurred on January 25th. The world is just getting a glimpse of how Facebook and this interconnectedness could really startle a nation and shock the world, and now there is no turning back.
One man, Wael Ghonim, a 30-year-old Google marketing manager, organized the online campaign that sparked the first protests in Egypt on January 25th. Through his passion, he became a symbol for the youth organizers in Egypt and represented their strength and courage.
Mr. Ghonim is the creator of the social media campaign that galvanized the protests. He created theWe are All Khaled Said Facebook page which helped to raise awareness about police abuse in Egypt and connect human rights organizers with Egyptians.
Because of Facebook and Twitter, people now have the power. In some cases, as seen in Egypt, this power can even overturn the government. The power dynamics have shifted. This proves that the effects of the Internet are quite strong and can only get stronger. It is confident and emotional voices like Mr. Ghonim’s that either use or will begin to use these social media sites as a platform to be heard and make significant changes in their countries. I don’t doubt that in the next couple of days, and years, we will see more leaders like this who are educated and tech-savy and will use the internet to change the world.
In many ways, Ghonim exploited a loophole in the way that some governments work. Because Facebook isn’t censored and can’t be blocked, the government has no way of regulating it. That is why Facebook has become to popular and that is why Facebook will become a crucial tool for those living in countries where all forms of media are owned and regulated by the government.
But still, many argue that a “revolution can’t be tweeted.” In many senses that is correct. An entire revolution can not possibly be described in 140 characters or less. But thats not what some of these people aim to do when they tweet. It is all about speed, getting the message (any message) out there to the people, and ultimately allowing individuals to speak their mind and create an on-going conversation.
And in that sense, the Egyptian Revolution, and those that follow, can and will be captured and organized by young ordinary people who seek to make a difference and have their voices heard.
It is no small wonder that Wael Ghonim is an icon not only in Egypt but recognized as such nationally. And I don’t doubt that through Facebook and Twitter many more people will rise up and incur more changes. Everyone’s voice now has a chance to be heard, whether that person considers themselves large or small, influential or not influential. And everyone should follow Mr. Ghonim’s lead and take advantage of this.