Reflection on Middle Eastern Movements

Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protests: Observations From Tahrir Square.

The article turns around the effect of social movements and political change. We get an introduction about different studies that has gone before this one, and how they have tried to enlighten us in which ways the social media have an influence on political changes. Egypt and Tahrir Square is the main focus of the article, which tells us about the people who were demonstrating during the overthrowing of Mubarak, and the time around this period. We hear about how the things have developed in Egypt, from being a rather free online public sphere, where only the most hardcore society critical bloggers were prosecuted, to a more government controlled internet.

One of the critical reasons for the fast growing movements in Egypt, and a lot of places in the Middle East, is the increasing number of people getting phones with internet, and the convenience of internet in general. Facebook became a massive media after it was adjusted to their language, and therefore became more usable for everyone. These tendencies are common in transitional societies, (political) visionaries tend to grasp the opportunities of new mediums and new ways of spreading their message or vision. It seems pretty obvious that these visionaries are the ones that make these crowd gathering effect.

We hear about the survey that was made, where the researchers ended up with 1050 valid surveys that were all made around the Tahrir Square, and all of them were made with people that were actively demonstrating. This enlightens us on demographic information, the use of the social media during the demonstrations, and many other facts about the people involving themselves in this fight for change. These studies are particularly interesting because we get to know the use of social media, and how it helped the demonstrators, as well as which gender and age the involved people had.

-Frederik Madsen

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