I am writing for Chapter 4: Our Digital Public, and the topics I explore in my chapter regard how different organizations and groups use digital information that is publicly available online. In my narrated slideshow, I will focus on the importance of social media and other online resources in empowering demonstrators to collaborate and plan activities during the Arab Spring revolutions.
For many in the US, the Internet is used as a convenience tool to quickly catch up with friends or search for information easily. However, in many dictatorships, the Internet is the sole resource for citizens to interact with the outside world enabling people to dream of a free and democratic state where citizens’ fundamental rights are protected. The Arab Spring revolutions which began in Tunisia in 2010 and later expanded across the Middle East clearly demonstrated the importance of social media and the Internet in empowering citizens in oppressed countries. In the Arab Spring, social media carried messages of hope for freedom from country to country in the Middle East which raised citizens’ expectations for success in a better future. The shared interest in democracy between thousands of citizens allowed groups to be formed over social networks, which enabled demonstrators to organize concerted efforts. While traditional media was heavily controlled by the governments, the Internet was difficult to control and strengthened the lines of communication between individuals across borders, increasing the speed at which the revolutions expanded across the region. The Arab Spring showed the power social media and the Internet had in empowering citizens in oppressed countries to participate jointly in demonstrations for freedom. The following link emphasizes the revolutionary role of social media in civil disobedience, during the Arab Spring: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/study-confirms-social-medias-revolutionary-role-in-arab-spring/