One of the greatest challenges in voicing discontent is the question of the channels to use in doing so. An effective platform in such a situation is the use of the social media, Twitter in particular.
The advantage with using Twitter is that it is very difficult to censor or manipulate information. Twitter is based in San Francisco USA, a country that is faithful to the freedom of speech and expression. Thus, even if the consumers of its products are based in countries with repressive regimes, the citizens of such a country can still enjoy immunity from censorship. You can read out the following Powerful Facts of the Twitter Revolution slightly below;
Characteristics of the Twitter Revolution
The American scholar Linz, who studied the Egyptian revolution, stated that the Twitter revolution was characterized by the following characteristics:
- The disgruntled citizens were able to communicate through Twitter and therefore took collective action.
- The citizens used the information cascades in order to evaluate their probability of success or judge the chances of failure.
- They could have an acceleration of the cost that is associated with the movement.
- Increase of public attention locally, regionally, and internationally
- The messages are instant; this allows instant dissemination of information and creating awareness.
The 2009-10 Elections, Iran
Evgeny Morozov. An Open Institute Society Fellow, stated that Twitter was a great channel in which Iranian sensitized the world on what was going on in Iran. In this light, the Iranian cause was able to get sympathy from key world political players. For example, the state department made a request to Twitter to reschedule its planned maintenance for the purpose of giving the Iranian a continued Twitter presence.
It should be noted that the foreign media was facing restrictions to cover what the Iranian authorities termed as illegal demonstrations. In this scenario, Twitter played a critical role in disseminating information.
Egypt and the Twitter Revolution
The tweets in the Egypt revolution were instant, emotional, and so exciting that it drew attention in Egypt and the international community. It was coverage of the Tahrir square as events happened, tweet by tweet. A defining feature of the Egyptian revolution is that the young people were overwhelmingly behind Twitter; over 60 per cent of young people under the age of 30 were active on Twitter.
Despite its success, the use of Twitter in the Egyptian revolution faced some challenges. The authorities in Egypt, just like a typical authoritarian regime, would try to crackdown on notable people leading the revolution. For example, Wael Ghonmin, often faced the wrath of the authorities due to his strong stand that the social media should establish an ecosystem that engages the others.
Other examples of the Twitter Revolution:
- The civil unrest in Moldova (2009)
- The Tunisian revolution (2010-11)
- The Ukrainian Revolution (20130), otherwise known as the Euromaidan.
Technology has made it easier to easier to collect and disseminate public information. The case of the Twitter Revolution is a case in point. It challenged regimes that otherwise seemed untouchable. In addition to that, the use of Twitter helped in organizing and sharing information. Overall, the Twitter revolution represented a cry in unison.