Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Not a Twitter Revolution, But Getting the Message out Electronically Certainly Helps

Anyone who says that what's happening in Egypt is fueled by social media is forgetting that the vast majority of the people who have been protesting aren't connected. Egypt is a country with much poverty, and the idea the web-based communication have brought out thousands to demonstrate is surely misguided. Something far more basic is happening here, something reflected in the human contact which has kept the security perimeter inside Tahiri Square volunteer, friendly, and with one notable exception when Mubarak-backed goons overwhelmed them, extremely effective, by all accounts.

But the face the protests present to the world--and to the decision makers in Washington and elsewhere--is very much affected by new ways of communicating. The Facebook page set up by young protesters is one example. So is the emotional appearance on Egyptian television of a Google exec--Google, mind you, whose motto is that old axiom lilted from the Hypocratic oath by way of Isaac Asimov, "do no evil"--who had been held by the government and now has become a poster boy for the protest.

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