The Internet Revolution
“Governments aren’t afraid of informed individuals, they’re afraid of synchronized ideas,” said speaker Clay Shirky at a speech about how social media could be used to spark a revolution. Shirky did not illustrate how activists seeking free democratic state can use new age communication to bring down an overbearing government. The Egyptian citizens did it on their own.
The ability to share information freely is a primary function of any healthy nation. When governments use censorship and propaganda to control their citizens, people are forced to find information to develop tools to fight suppression. Using Facebook, Twitter, camera phones and text messaging, Egyptian protestors were able to unite their views and share common gripes with the existing government.
Shirky described the dangers of social media for the Egyptian government. He credited Internet penetration with planting the seeds of democracy several years ago. Social media did not create their unrest. It stirred it and allowed them to coordinate.
“Technology is a dictator’s dilemma,” he explained. “Getting information is important. Getting information out is imperative.”