Last week in class we discussed the possible benefits of Social Media in facilitating change in the world. The Arab Spring was one example of how Social Media platforms helped protesters organize to start a movement in the Middle East. While it is true that Social Media played a role in sparking the protests, I am not yet sure if the change that came about in Egypt is a positive one. With the lack of a legitimate opposition, Egypt is now under strict military control. The protests that aimed to bring about a legitimate democracy have effectively eliminated any form of democracy.
The people of Egypt absolutely have the right to free speech, right to protest, and right to access information via the internet and social media. This is a fundamental human right of every person; however, social media is limited in terms of its use for the actualization of these rights because while it organizes “the masses” and “the people” to protest against corrupt government, dictatorship, or even tyranny, it happens so fast and in a disorganized manner that properly structured forms of government and alternate parties had no time to organize and respond to the uprising in a way that would benefit the people.
As part of our discussion, it was mentioned that social change takes time to happen, and I agree that this is true. However, I think that the people in Egypt are in a worse position to organize and protest while under strict military control. Getting organized in Egypt is going to be harder than ever now. An example of this is the situation in Turkey this week where massive blockages to Twitter and the Internet have sparked outrage against the government. The tool that has the potential to free people can also have the potential to keep citizens in the dark.