Many of my friends claimed that the revolution in Egypt was a Facebook or Twitter revolution. This belief has spread so far that many Indians have notched up their participation on social networking sites in hopes of revolution. Well, as a matter of fact, 17% of Egyptians have internet access which was severely blocked during the revolution. Egyptian revolution was ‘not’ a social media-inspired revolution.
The revolution didn’t happen because one morning a guy in Egypt woke up and said “Ah! Nice morning, I have nothing better to do, so let’s get rid of our government”. He started a Twitter thread and Facebook community and Hosni Mubarak was gone. Pyramids were not built in a day. The protests were the result of 30 years of repression, economic shackles, rampant corruption and the inability of Egyptians to meet aspirations of a better tomorrow.
Ever since president Obama won elections in the US, the power of the social media to garner support for a cause has been talked about. In India’s last general election, the most visible online campaign was ‘LK Advani for Prime Minister campaign’. Why did that become a failure? There are numerous campaigns on Facebook that people ‘like’ and forget. How many of those causes get any genuine support?
Media does not bring changes. Individuals do. Tool should never be mistaken with the outcome. Just because you have a computer at home, doesn’t make you a programmer.