Social Networking- A dictator’s worst enemy

At this point, social networking sites are no new phenomena in the United States. Facebook gets more hits daily than even Google, and Twitter is becoming more and more popular by the day.  With the ability to follow, like, and friend people from around the world, news outlets have learned to use the social media sites of people involved in the recent revolutions to get minute to minute updates about protests around the world. Because of these quick updates, in both Egypt and more recently Libya, dictators clinging to power have quickly tried to shut down the country’s internet access in order to slow down anti- government protest information.

In Egypt, Wael Ghonim, the marketing manager for Google in the Middle East and North Africa tweeted about different protests by the hour which eventually led to his arrest by the Egyptian government.  This only furthered his following and helped spread the word faster about his anti- Mubarak movements.  In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in an online discussion with young Egyptians who were involved in the riots.  By answering their questions in an online interview which were eventually posted on an Egyptian social networking site, Clinton assured the citizens that the United States supported their democratic ideals.

One of the many western journalists who have been following the chaos in the Middle East and Africa, National Public Radio’s Andy Carvin has been updating his twitter page constantly to keep people around the world up to date of current protests and government decisions. 

With millions of people around the world participating and actively using several different social media sites, it allows information to be passed around at a greater rate than ever before. With the capabilities to follow sites from smart phones, laptops etc. it will be hard for any dictators over staying there welcome to keep ahead of the actions of their irritated citizens.

-Chad Graves

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10 thoughts on “Social Networking- A dictator’s worst enemy

  1. It is crazy to think how much social media sites have become an essential part of our lives. People use them for communication more than actually communicating. It is no surprise to me that dictators would feel intimidated by these sites. They know if word gets around than they are sooner or later going to lose their power day by day. In a way, the people who are protesting rely on these sites to spread the word and gain more power to defend themselves and become the top-dog.

  2. I too am surprised at how popular social networking has become across the world today. My mother, who unfortunately for me now has Facebook, always talks about how easy it is for our generation to keep in touch with friends all over the country and world through cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter. Even as a 20 year old, I am still a little bit amazed by the spreading of Twitter throughout almost every society, and also the fact that one can follow their favorite celebrities or athletes and constantly know what that person is doing. One thing however that doesn’t surprise me is how dictators or government officials would be opposed to these types of mass communication because of how easy it is to “join forces” with thousands of other people who share common beliefs.

  3. It’s indeed crazy how much social media are involved in our lives in such a short period of time. Social media provides a platform for people to speak about so many different things and the ability to share things from all over the world. I think it’s a good thing that people who are living in those areas of conflict have the opportunity to speak out now. That their government is trying to shut off these websites is just a sign that they’re scared, and scared people can do crazy things.

    But I don’t think twitter or facebook gives a realistic view of the situations over there, we should keep that in mind. I think that people who are against the government are much more likely to share their thoughts than the people who agree with the government. The rebels are always more louder… and after all it are all just opinions.

  4. It amazes me how much our society depends on different types of social media to stay updated on happenings in our world. If facebook, twitter, and other various social networking sites were to get shut down, I feel like people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. We rely way too much on these sites for what we think is valid information. What happened to the days of watching the news or reading the newspaper for world news? I’m sure there are many people out there that sill continue to rely on these sources for information; however, social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular. There is a definite plus to being able to receive important information this easily, and I am not surprised that world leaders feel threatened by this.

  5. I have been completely engulfed by everything that has been happening over in those countries and how social media is being used. It has played such a huge role in gathering the people and uniting them. I have even been relying on journalist’s and news station’s twitter accounts to get the most up-to-date information. Social media has allowed for a country to completely overthrow their government and fight for a democracy and I think that is so great. I read in an article the other day that an Egyptian couple named their baby Facebook because of the role it played in changing their lives and the direction of their country and future.

  6. Facebook and other social media have completely taken over the world. It is such a powerful tool that can be used for good. Unfortunately enough, it can also be abused. In keeping up with all the turmoil in Egypt, I remember reading how some people in Egypt accredited much of the revolution to Facebook. It allowed them to express their feelings and emotions to the world when all other sources of media were so controlled and unaccessible. At times, it kept the world updated with what was happening over there through posts and videos. Isn’t it amazing how a social media site has the power to drive an uprising in a struggling country?

  7. The biggest deal concerning the social network and the coupe of Egypt is the social network’s influence on the Egyptian government’s actions. Mubarak was unwilling to slaughter protesters in light of the fact that the whole world was watching. He tried to turn off the internet in Egypt, but that could not contain outside links to the rest of the world. After failing to censor information about the status of Egypt, Mubarak wisely stepped down. Social networking has brought the world its’ most bloodless coupe yet. Libya is next!

  8. This is the kind of thing that social networking sites should be use for. Im not saying rebellion but the spread of information and ideas. I think that sights like Facebook that most college age people have can be used in a lot more different ways than just the way people use it. Most college kids use it to talk about and make plans for the weekend. Not that this is bad because interacting with people and friends and communicating easily, effectively, and efficiently is important but there is more that can be done with these sites to make them more effective tools in our society and world.

  9. I think the use of social networking in cases such as what is going on in Egypt and in the Middle East is great. I feel like it gives people a voice who would not normally be heard and allows people with common views to get together. I understand why the governments of certain countries do not approve of social networking websites such a Facebook or Twitter as it is a way for the common person to revolt in a way or go against the governments rule. I feel like Facebook and Twitter are the most up to date ways of knowing what is going on over there as it is coming firts hand from people who are in the middle of all the action. Like Nick stated I think that it is amazing how something like an online networking website can be so powerful enough to bring about an uprising in certain countries.

  10. I think all of the social media is overwhelming. It seems that society is so busy and “connected” all the time that we forgot what it even means to be in the now. I understand how and why people look at social media as a fantastic tool, specifically for businesses. However, it is more than easy to get lost in useless information and waste the little time that we have. Some of this social media is ok but we have reached to point of abusing it as far as i’m concerned.

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