More than a Facebook Revolution: Social Movements and Social Media in the Egyptian Arab Spring
Baron, Luis Fernando
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Public opinion leaders and activists characterized the Egyptian “Arab Spring” of January 2011 as a “Facebook Revolution”. They highlight the intrinsic power of social media as an influencing factor for social change. Un- deniably, social med ia played important roles in that revolution process. However, these roles cannot be dis- connected from the socio - political contexts. This paper discusses the use of social media, particularly of Face- book, by the April 6th Youth Movement (A6YM), a decisive actor of the Egyptian protests. It is based on the analysis of two Egyptian newspapers and one American newspaper, between 2008 and 2011. We propose that a) social media provided alternative mechanisms for political expression and organization, b) social m edia con- tributed to the genesis and consolidation of the A6YM and to the establishment of youth political identities, and c) the combination of “bits and streets” amplified not just the movement’s mobilization but the degree of opposition experienced by the Egyptian regime.
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