[Air-L] Arab spring cites

nativebuddha nativebuddha at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 11:44:38 PDT 2011

Here's what I sifted out from responses to my call for empirical work on the
Arab Spring. Thanks to everyone who responded.


*Social Media and the Arab Spring*

*General argument about Arab Spring and/or social media:*




Howard, Phillip "The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"

flows and regimes)


on Egypt)

wikipedia fits in)

*Empirical study:*

Howard et al =

http://ijoc.org/ojs/index.php/ijoc/article/view/1246/613 (Information flows
during Tunisian and Egytian revolutions/Tweets)

*Regarding the Internet Shutdown in Egypt:*

“New Social Networks with Old Technology - What the Egyptian Shutdown tells
us about Social Media” (Dan McQuillan)



Egypt is the latest in a series of countries to witness the

powerful potential of modern social media to catalyse and mobilise

people around social issues. The Egyptian government response was to

have the internet and mobile networks completely shut down. This was,

however, not the end of the role that social media ideas played in the

events that followed. People inside and outside of Egypt collaborated to

 re-create the missing networks using the still-available technologies

of landlines, dial-up and ham radio.

This paper argues that this use of

pre-digital technologies to form the kinds of infrastructure afforded by

 modern social technologies is evidence of a radical change in people’s

perceptions of their world and its connectedness. Social media has

constituted a real change that goes beyond specific technologies. This

flies in the face of many sceptical critics who argue that new

technologies only reinforce old practices and social structures.

This view of the effects of social media

presents a challenge to its study. Technological studies and formal

analyses of relationships inscribed in social networks will never be

able to capture fully the way people understand and interact with these

technologically-enabled structures.

In this paper, I use the internet

shutdown in Egypt to raise issues that I believe need to be considered

in analysing the influence of social media on social movements. I

discuss how existing models need to become hybridic, heterogeneous and

responsive to the grassroots appropriation of technology, especially the

 future creation of alternatives to the corporate internet. In

conclusion, I analyse the phrase 'Egypts Facebook Youth' as the emblem

of social media's impact.

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