Social network plays essential role in the modern life. One of the main functions this modern service performs is the information sharing. Remembering the Arab uprising, I saw how Twitter and Facebook were used for organizing protests, informing participants about the time and place and making stress on the desired outcomes of these protests. Having found many sources which support my ideas, I see that the use of Twitter and Facebook was important in the rise of so-called Arab Spring. Reading Huang’s article “Facebook and Twitter key to Arab Spring uprising: report”, I came across the following statement, social networks “played a critical role in mobilization, empowerment, sharing opinions and influencing change” (Huang). Of course, the popularity of Twitter and Facebook cannot be rejected. If to see the number of new users of in the region during the Arab uprising, the increase by 30% during the first months of 2012 is seen compared to 18% of the same period in 2010 (Huang).
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Considering different sources and searching for the information devoted to the issue, I noticed that social media was useful not only for protests supporters. Both sides of the conflict used social network in their personal needs. David Bailey, an expert on social media and the military, in “Facebook, Twitter play key role in Syrian uprising” article said that “People are using all these social media platforms to influence audiences outside their country to support them; they’re getting quite aggressive with it” (in “Facebook, Twitter”). I noticed that the information spread too fast, many countries reacted to the conflicts and made all possible to support the citizens and to implement the democracy in the region. The attention of the USA, the Great Britain and France was reflected not only online but via the interference into the national conflict (Cockburn). Reading Cockburn’s article I understood that the absence of the social platforms could prevent the spread of the information, therefore, the international interference would not be so intensive.
Reading Peter Beaumont’s article, I agree with his “defining image of the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa” which he calls “a young woman or a young man with a smartphone” (Beaumont). I understood that the use of smartphones and the Internet was essential for the development of the information spread. Watching news I saw how people were occupied with the Internet activity, how they used all possible facilities for connection. Posting and reposting information, commenting other’s posts and sharing the data via the social platforms was one of the most powerful weapons in the protests in the Arab world. I read personal opinions online and saw how many people of different age commented on those opinions, supporting and criticizing those.
As I remember from the previous readings, government in Arab countries controls mass media and this control was intensified while the protests. Nevertheless, the Internet and social networking is difficult to control, therefore, the leakage of the information was inevitable (Gelvin 50). Gelvin in his article says that there are both supporters and skeptics of the social network importance in the Arab uprising. I followed the Internet and found many for and against arguments which confirmed this opinion.
Searching for the opinion of skeptics who did not believe in the importance of the social networking in the Arab upraising I came across Zuckerberg’s point of view who said that “Facebook was neither necessary nor sufficient for any of those things that happened. The thing that was both necessary and sufficient was a population of people who felt very strongly that change needed to happen” (Zuckerberg). However, I could not agree as I saw on the internet how most of the Information was spread, and news channels offered just some of the official data.
Much useful information was spread vis Facebook and Twitter, it was obvious. This is not the first uprising in the region and this time it was successful (contrary to the previous attempts). The similar situation was in Libya in 90s when people were revolutionary directed, however, no one knew about that uprising (Singh). Lawson in his article “The Arab uprisings” stresses that Facebook and Twitter were the reasons of the success of the revolution. The attempt of Zuckerberg and some other scholars to refuse the importance of Facebook and Twitter in the latest Arab uprising cannot be considered seriously as everybody understands that the world popularity of the event, the world awareness of the latest news is the contribution of the mentioned above social networks. Every one who visits the Internet can see it.
Therefore, it should be concluded that most of the sources which dwell upon the role of Facebook and Twitter in the latest Arab uprising confirm the information about their exclusive importance. Social media informed the whole world about the events which happened in Arab countries from inside and the protestants were supported by the whole world from outside. Such information sharing is really important and, therefore, the crucial importance of Facebook and Twitter in the Arab uprising cannot be rejected.
Beaumont, Peter. “The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world.” The Guardian. 2011. Web.
Cockburn, Patrick. “After the Euphoria: On the Arab Uprisings.” The Nation. 2012. Web.
“Facebook, Twitter play key role in Syrian uprising.” The Times of India. 2012. Web.
Gelvin, James L. The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Huang, Carol. “Facebook and Twitter key to Arab Spring uprising: report.” The National. 2011. Web.
Lawson, George. “The Arab uprisings.” Open Democracy. 2012. Web.
Singh, Anita. “Ways with Words: role of Twitter and Facebook in Arab Spring uprising ‘overstated’, says Hisham Matar.” The Telegraph. 2011. Web.
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Zuckerberg, Mark. “Mark Zuckerberg plays down Facebook role in Arab uprisings.” The Telegraph. 2011. Web.