Egypt's Ongoing Uprising and the Role of Social Media: Is there Development?

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National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

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Management Department

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Research Article

Publication Title

Information Technology for Development

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In an age, where social media is seen to be a new driving force and a vehicle with a significant impact on political transformation and change, this paper highlights some of the paradoxes and challenges it poses. It has become an important platform for the mobilization, organization and implementation of social movements around the world. However, Egypt's uprising was a function of people, passion and not of any particular communication technology, social media tool or application. It was definitely not the Facebook, Twitter or social media revolution, it was the people uprising that capitalized on state-of-the-art technology to realize a dream of a nation in availing "bread, freedom and social justice." Having said that, there is no doubt that social media boosted the people's desire for a better future, democracy and socioeconomic development that was for many decades put on hold by the consecutive regimes that ruled Egypt since 1952. The role of social media was more of a catalyst, a driver, a communication tool that helped as a platform for societal change. Yet, the country is still in a state of flux driven by the force unleased through social media manifested in speeding-up the process and in the dissemination of information across different segments of the society irrespective of their social or economic background, location or age. Expectations are high and aspirations reflect the desire of a nation to level up to its full potential; it is going to take some time but undoubtedly Egypt is on the right track. This paper demonstrates the clash of generations between older state power and younger citizens and the role social media played in the political transformation in the build-up to Egypt's uprising in January 2011 and beyond. © 2013 © 2013 Commonwealth Secretariat.

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