COGN20PROJFINAL - Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Govil TA Erin...

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Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Govil, TA Erin Cory COGN 20 – A01 27 May 2011 Social Media – Catalyst for the Egyptian Revolution The Egyptian Revolution officially began on January 25, 2011, with young Egyptian men and women proactively using social media to update outsiders on current events and to plan for protests. Egyptian protesters, coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds, focused primarily on legal and political issues, including the freedom of speech, police brutality, rising food prices, and economic problems such as high unemployment rates and low minimum wages. They hold the regime of President Hosni Mubarak responsible and accountable for the tragic death of 28-year-old Khaled Said, who was beaten to death by two police officers. After the murder, Said became a prominent figure in Egyptian society, representing the police brutality that the Egyptians strived to purge (Logan 2011: 1). The unrest caused by the anti-government demonstrators prompted President Mubarak to step down on and hand over his reign to the military on February 11, 2011. During this time, protesters reached out to their community through social networking sites to further political organization and social mobilization and to ask for increase in government accountability. Given the volatile political and cultural climate of Egypt, fueled by the availability and affordability of technology, social media has become the catalyst to the Egyptian Revolution, by uniting people to act as a force to be reckoned with. The collective efforts of the Egyptians, via social media, have toppled a dictatorial regime. The fact that everyone has an opportunity to be heard results in less “followers” and more “leaders.” Collective efforts and active participation on social networking sites allow
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Ng 2 people to educate and enlighten others about current events. Facebook, a popular social media outlet that continually experiences exponential growth in membership, allows for collective efforts to be present in any social community. Upon Said’s brutal murder, distraught Egyptians relied on Facebook to deliver various messages and to seek support and collective action for change. An example of collective action for change is found on a Facebook page titled “We are all Khaled Said,” which currently has over 100,000 fans. The title of this page suggests that Egyptian activists have been campaigning against police brutality, for they believed that Said was not a threat. According to Mike Giglio’s article, “We Are All Khaled Said”: Will the Revolution Come to Egypt? , Sherif Mansour, a senior program officer who focuses on news media in Egypt argued, “his death made the connection between the advocacy and the everyday life of Egyptians. It made the point that everyone can be affected” (qtd. in Giglio 2011: 1). This Facebook page was created to demonstrate that many people stood up for Said by arguing against police cruelty because they noticed that the unjustified murder impacted many other
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COGN20PROJFINAL - Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Govil TA Erin...

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