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article imageOp-Ed: Social media is the key to powering revolutions

By Syra Sharif     Jun 12, 2013 in World
The ongoing protests in Turkey have proved that social media is what helps to spread a message of desired change. From Twitter to Facebook, the use of how social media can influence a generation can be powerful.
Twitter analytics and data can show that in the time between a revolution, people are still discussing what is going on in their country. From Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Turkey there is an online presence in which it is clear to see that there are discussions going on about how change should come about.
According to this Mashable article it was found that, “(in Egypt) before the election period, from February 2011 until November of the same year, 54% of the tweets analyzed were “reflections on the revolution.” People seem to get excited about revolutionary activities as they are going on around them, increasing the momentum and the amount of awareness about what is going on. In an infographic from Crimson Hexagon, citizens in countries with corrupt and oppressive regimes use social media to alert those in the area as well as any others who may be interested about developments in the area.
In Turkey, Twitter has been an important factor to spreading the protests and anger that is felt. As the Huffington Post reported, “protesters directed their anger over this poor coverage and TV news crews who did show up."This only prompted protesters to take to Twitter to seek out the latest news and developments on the events which were enfolding.
Some worry about the problem of government censorship, while some in Turkey have turned to apps to secretly browse online under the radar of the government. The Huffington Post points towards Silicon Valley based company Anchor Free which sells the application “Hotspot Shield.” The app allows for “anonymous online surfing through a virtual private network.” It was reported that by the beginning of the month, downloads jumped 1,000% to 100,000 by the start of the month. This all points back to the idea that social media is a growing presence among those who wish to see the revolution spread.
For those that are still wondering how social media plays an effective role, it would be helpful to look at the politics of the issue. For example, the issues facing Turkey are much different from the civil regimes which Egypt and Libya faced. For Turkey, it all began with a peaceful sit-in in Gezi Park on the edge of Taksim Square which eventually lead to the push towards protecting human rights and the overall public space.
To understand fully what a revolution means is not easy, unless one is part of the action themselves. For those with internet access and the means to spread a message, then social media is the best way to get people listening to what is happening. It is the key to influencing a group of people to try to make a change.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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