The JK blog has often commented about the use of social media within both the consumer and the business world. However, this month, we’ve seen the use of Facebook and Twitter take on a slightly different role over the recent political unrest in North Africa.
First and foremost there was the uprising in Tunisia – where social media played a central role in mobilising the Tunisians against leader Ben Ali, whose rule of 23 years was swiftly ended after days of organised violence and protest. With images of the uprisings quickly posted, tweeted and shared by social media users across the globe, there was soon widespread condemnation of the authoritarian government.
In both instances, the ‘powers that be’ had/have attempted to clamp down on the use of the internet, particularly in Egypt where there is now an imposed internet blackout. And whilst this will evidently curtail the speed at which protests can be organised, and perhaps the mass numbers involved, one thing is clear – social media has evolved into a pseudo agent of democracy – providing a platform for free speech.
In the future as a greater number of less developed nations embrace the power of the internet, those countries which operate corrupt and/or oppressive regimes around the world may need to watch out – the collective power of social media will be a force not to be underestimated or ignored.