With the number of social media channels constantly increasing and changing the way we access information, our ability to communicate and share information with one another has never been so vast.
As individuals, and as a society, we see each other, celebrities and the world as a whole in a different way, thanks to social media. We can access information in a number of different formats and styles as well as through a number of different channels. The biggest change, however, is simply the sheer number of people that we can interact with at once. Where previously we were mostly limited to communicating with people we knew, social media has opened up a means for us to interact with people from all around the country we are in, as well as the world as a whole. This has provided an ideal opportunity to share opinions with a far wider range of people than our immediate circle of friends.
This lack of filter on communication has had huge impacts on the world. Take the Egyptian revolution, for example. The mass demonstrations that triggered Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power were organized on Facebook groups. Demonstrators spread the news about protests via Twitter and encouraged followers to take to the streets at specific times and locations. Eventually the Egyptian government blocked access to Facebook and Twitter but this didn’t stop the organizers. They found a way around the block, and continued to organize protests and spread news around the world about the Egyptian uprising on social media channels. Egypt has proven that social media is a significant force in ways that are far more profound than many realize. This power didn’t stop with Egypt though, it continued to be a tool used across the Arab world and can be seen as a contributor to the Arab Springs.
Young people fueled the revolts in the various Arab countries through social networking to spread the word of uprising to both Arab nations and the world. As of 5 April 2011, the amount of Facebook users in Arab nations surpassed 27.7 million people, indicating that the constant growth of people connected via social media acted as an asset where communication was concerned.
Different types of media such as image and video were also used to distribute the information. Through social media, the ideals of rebel groups, as well as the current situations in each country received international attention. It is still debated whether or not social media acted as a primary catalyst for the Arab Springs to gain momentum and become an internationally recognized situation. Regardless, it has still played a crucial role in the movement.
Twitter, Facebook and other networks have disrupted things on levels we’re just starting to understand. All of this is changing us personally, professionally and ultimately society as a whole, allowing us to get our message out to thousands or even millions of people, uncensored. Social media is a powerful and disruptive force that should not be reckoned with… but many wonder how much longer it will last.