As further testament to the power of the social network, the week that Egypt took down its peoples Internet, effectively cutting off the entire nation’s ability to log on, caused as much outrage among the protesters as their desire to kick their dictatorial leader out of power.
The internet and social media is an integral part of everyone’s world, including the third world, and has risen to be the most potent way to challenge the established political class by the lay man.
In an ideal world, politics exists for the good of the people. In fact, the word “politics” is derived from the word “people”. But the reality is that, as we all know, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in largely a corrupt world headed up, for the most part, by corrupt leaders.
In countries where the common people have suffered as a result of the errant ways of a country’s political elite, social platforms offer a dynamic propaganda tool. It was the quick distribution of information via these social platforms that ensured the uprisings in both Tunisia and Egypt were as widespread and as effective as they were.
People in far-flung corners of both countries, no matter how poor, have one thing in common: access to the Internet. If they don’t have it, then a friend or local shop does. Either way, they have a way to get online, get information or disseminate it.
Social media is also turning into something of a two-edged sword for countries and territories with oppressive regimes. On the one hand, these regimes would like to censor people-centric media as they do with newspapers and other types of broadcast media but on the other would like to use it to their advantage: promoting their own political messages.
Social media and politics complement one another as social media can truly provide meaning to the phrase “power to the people” whilst at the same time can be used by the ruling political classes to promote their agenda – rightly or wrongly.