Comments on social media and the revolutions across the world

Many believe that social medias have revolutionized the politics of different countries, or that it has provided a new tool for citizens to express their believes. I wonder how effective are social medias on bringing regime down? Are they the ultimate tool for achieving this?

Most of the recent revolts that have occurred around the world have use social medias to coordinate their action. Because of the usage they have given them most people think that social media is the enabler of this revolutions. It can be argued that social media has played an important role on the recent revolutions, but it cannot be said that without them it would had not happen.

Revolts have happen before and communications technologies have always help on the organizational aspects of the revolution, but never before those technologies have been praised because of the revolution they helped. Why do people now think that it is twitter creating the revolution? How come technologies as being seen as the creators of change at present time?

On his article title “why the revolution will not be twitted” Gladwell argues that social medias create weak-tie connections that are great for disseminating information but not good for creating commitment from others. He argues that revolution are started by close friends that bring other close friends as it grows, and that a person that is in the beginning stage is more likely to be there because of the amount of friends he might have in there already. I think that in one part he is right, social media can help us spread the word of change and it can encourage people to participate. It is true that it won’t make everyone participate but it can create a level of traction that it can be more easily obtain that counting with your personal network exclusively. Social media can get the word to people who might have similar thoughts and can unite them even if geographically speaking they are far away. 

Tahrir Square on April 1, 2011

People are affected by media in a two way process, first the information is transmitted by the media and then (step two) it is repeated by your friends and family (Katz & Lazarsfeld). Social media is the perfect tool for this dissemination.

We could say that the usage of social media has facilitated the process of communication for organizing “revolutions”, it has made it faster and easier to connect with others, but the revolution wouldn’t be possible if the society hadn’t started the process before. Social media can be helpful on congregating the masses for the final stage of a change, but an aptitude of change most exist before the usage of social media can help gather traction.

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