I’m not sure where or how to start this post, but I will suffice by saying “YOU CAN’T SILENCE FREEDOM”. This post might lead to banning me from Egypt or worse, but this is my contribution to a country I love dearly. I dedicate this post to Egypt.
Censorship is not new to Egypt! In fact, people have been silenced, one way or another, for the mere thought of opposing the ruling regime. This post is certainly not intended to be a political one, nor am I fond of the subject; this is simply a showcase of the role of social media in the Uprising in Egypt (January 25, 2011).
The voice of the Egyptian people was never louder – thanks to social media!
On January 25, 2011, the Egyptian people took the streets in protest of the ruling regime. Social Media channels (including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, and blogs) were used to organize this revolution and as a platform of voicing the people’s frustration to the world and earn their attention.
A couple of Dedicated Twitter Accounts:
- @25Egypt – Followers: 3,427 / Tweets: 2,664 / Created: Sun, Jan 23, 2011
- @Jan25voices – Followers: 6,412 / Tweets: 579 / Created: Fri, Jan 28, 2011
Some Dedicated Facebook Pages:
- Egypt 25 Jan | يوم الحرية – Likes: 7,081 / Links: 605 / Videos: 15 / Photos: 255
- Egypt’s Protests 25-Jan-2011 – Likes: 2,914 / Links: 598 / Photos: 110
- 2011 Revolution | Egypt – Likes: 1,775 / Links: 118 / Photos: 29
- Take What’s Yours! – Egypt’s Peaceful Revolution – Likes: 1,646 / Links: 55 / Videos: 2
- Egypt Revolution Videos |فيديوهات ثورة مصر – Likes: 1,410 / Videos: 241
- We Are All Khaled Said – Likes: 41,588 / Links: 362 / Photos: 1,189
- كلنا خالد سعيد – Likes: 457,763 / Links: 2,008 / Videos: 59 / Photos: 880
- R.N.N | شبكة رصد – Likes: 380,233 / Links: 81,937 / Videos: 57 / Photos: +17,000
Needless to say, that these are dedicated channels following up on the Egyptian Revolution. Let’s have a quick look at some random statistics:
Google Results for Jan 25 Egypt
Youtube search results for:
- Jan 25 Egypt = 4,990 videos
- Egyptian revolution 2011 = 6,690
- Popular Video “The Most AMAZING video on the internet #Egypt #jan25” – Views: 1,368,011 / Likes: 17,825 / Comments: 8,978
Twitter Hashtags # (Stats reflect tweets from the 28th of January till the 3nd of February mid-day)
WOW – No wonder they were very keen in shutting down all internet communication – the figures are scary, especially if they’re trying to hide something. You can run, but you can’t hide! Think About It!
In reply to the internet blackout, Google launched a service called “Speak2Tweet” Monday, January 27, 2011, giving Egyptians the option to call an international phone number (+97316199855)
and tweet via voicemail. After one day of complete communication blackout (including mobile networks and internet service providers), they reinstated the mobile connection and people of Egypt called in their tweets using this service.
How was social media used in this revolution?
- Organizing Protests – Social media was used as a megaphone on steroids to spread the word about the demonstrations on January 25
- Advice & Tips – Demonstrators were guiding others on what routes to avoid, what clothes to wear, what supplies to keep on hand – the international realm was giving tips on how to wash tear gas from their faces, etc …
- Storytelling – Someone had to tell the real story since the local TV channels didn’t – filtering what’s real and what’s exaggerated was left to the reader, but it wasn’t hard, since the mass amount of videos, pictures, and articles helped paint a very clear picture.
- Inducing Pressure on International Politics – Egypt is not alone; it doesn’t exist on an isolated planet with no connection to earth. So someone has to answer to all that has and is happening. The cry of the people on social media was too loud to be ignored by the international community. They earned the attention!
In closing, I would like to share with you a picture that was taken by a friend of mine, Beco G., who took part in the protests in Tahrir Square.
In my next post, we’ll be looking at the social media lessons learned from the Egyptian Revolution 2011. Till then, I ask you to send your love and prayers to Egypt.
UPDATE – February 13, 2011: Dearest Readers, the different figures showcased in the this post were collected on the 3rd of February – I invite you to click on the different links for more updated figures, see the incredible growth rate to-date.