Social Media: Catalyst for Political Change
By Severin Skolrud
After 30 years of poverty and corruption, Egyptians have successfully ousted President Mubarak. The revolt has spurred neighboring countries to follow. Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and several more governments are experiencing backlash from displeased citizens. Numerous protestors have lost their lives fighting for their beliefs, yet the revolts continue.
Many are wondering how these protests have been so successfully executed? Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks have played a huge role in motivating, organizing, and sharing digital files worldwide. In Egypt, a Google Marketing Executive named Wael Ghonim used Twitter and Facebook to communicate with thousands of Egyptians to take a stand against Mubarak. After the protest proved successful, Egyptian authorities arrested Ghonim only to release him weeks later after pressure began to build concerning the reasons behind his arrest.
At first social media networks started as a fun way to connect with others. Things have changed. Social networks have proven that they have the capability to change governments. Is this good or bad? Some argue that current governments undergoing revolts are oppressive dictatorships that deserve to be other thrown. Others warn this may create chaos within stable governments.
One thing is certain, social media’s power is rising. No one was able to predict the upheaval in Egypt nor will people be able to accurately predict what comes next. Only time will tell.