Social Media and the Arab Uprisings

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Social Media and the Arab Uprisings
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In this session, two scholars who have extensively studied the role of social media in the Arab Uprisings will present findings (both theirs and others) as well provide a guide to new issues and questions raised by these developments. How and why did activists across the region turn to the Internet before, during and after these revolts? What role did various social media platforms play in the political process? How does the emergent new media ecology blurs lines between old/new/mobile/Internet media? From Al-Jazeera to video-phone enabled cell-phones, from satellite modems to mesh networks, activists and journalists in the region have displayed some of the most innovative uses of new media tools. Governments, though, are responding.
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by in all you to b been been in his desire and I want you to know is that I will have to be an interesting panel discussion on the role of social media played in the protests
last year swept across North Africa and the Middle East as we all witnessed and they were pretty dramatic events and much has been said in the past 2 years since them about the role of social media has played this been a discussion was actually social media was at the new media ecology that actually help to empower people to take to the streets or were other factors involved what role did social media Player what role does it continue to play and and and I think the other question we want to look about and is the demographics of that's uh people-powered protests those who are
involved in it what are the limits of what are the benefits what encourages people to get out there to participate whether be through social media or then taking the final step in taking to the streets and what discourages them from participating with us to hopefully answer some of those questions or maybe go even further
and ask us more questions to think about which we can then reconvene next year and see if we found any more answers are too people who have been investigating this issue from an academic level they've been conducting surveys have been analyzing the role of social media has played and with me today are a fatty Salim who is in a is a
teacher at the Dubai School of Government he's been examining in a series of reports the role that social media has played in the Arab world and you'll have a presentation on the demographics and the social structures and at stake here and we also have an outside sign it and send it to system they have to say here last name of tried again to faithfully and use a assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and she's also been investigating the role social media has played an especially the interaction between technology and
society so I'd like to welcome them both were going to start with fiery each 1 of them has about a 15 minute impulse presentation after which then we will have probably have lots of questions from you and don't take us up to about a hour's time so thank you fatty thank you very much so I'm I'm gonna start
with that throwing some numbers at you and then you photos and lots of questions and maybe that would raise of some more questions next so what was the role of social media and the Arab spring mean there was good bad and ugly things that happen during the past year and to start with let's get this question out of the way
so was it that was the Arab Spring of Facebook revolution show of hands I can't see anything already raised their hands but the the interesting thing is you ask this question in Egypt usually you get a lot of people raising their hands that it's yes of Facebook revolution that that continue to be a question to be answered later so wouldn't have
happened if it wasn't for all the iconic and activists there and they would they would act as of the time but they were people who died and that this on their desks there are suffering that was used they became I can state was used to using social media it was distributed and although you to Facebook Twitter and then field into so into with traditional media so would have happened if it wasn't for social media penetration and a critical mass of users in the Arab world that's another question so let's
construct the what happened in the Arab spring this is very simplified but I will use it anyway it was a demographic revolution of sorts 1st and for formal it was there was a young population
very young in the Arab world there was a youth bulge of so-called youth bulge at a massive unemployment that existed for a long time with hundreds of million 100 million jobs needed in the Arab world and there was a social revolution of sorts at 1 that created order or based on social new social norms that existed in the society in many Arab countries where our expectations would be becoming different people were thinking that good enough is not enough anymore that and economic and democratic freedom is something that you want should be looking for and then there was a technological revolution of sorts and that's it for that there was a critical mass of users across the region in certain certain countries that use technology but with increase accessibility with less cost and with more so what did that materialize into and for example at stake Facebook during the past 2 years it grew from 18 million users in the Arab world that was in October 2010 just before the arab spring up to 34 million in October 2011 after the most of the EU revolutions and then it slowed down again but still it grew fast up 243 million users to date and these are numbers we're just producing these these are you know your privilege this is the 1st sample showing these numbers um so this is how the penetration of Facebook looks in the Arab world today you have countries with up to 30 40 per cent penetration rate most of the users are under 30 years of age or before 70 per cent of them actually woman the are only 34 per cent of the user if you look at Twitter and these are all you
numbers also on March the active Twitter users in the Arab world today are around 1 . 5 million and by active users i mean people who at least 2 weeks once a month and this is based on Twitter definition of sorting out the they actually define it as somebody who access their account once a month but that wouldn't be as accurate in my view uh than than this 1 so there is around 8 . 4 million users of Twitter most of them do not to be but automatically so maybe not even that do that and there's allowed 173 million tweets generated in March this this year so those are some
questions what are the changing perceptions in the post arab spring based on social media is it a tool for women
empowerment this is based on this is a questionnaire that we actually distributed across the region I will not present the results already that the results of many of the questions I've raising here and the findings of our surveys are available in the of social media report which you can download on the website we so it does it
close the order or bridge the virtual gender gap but is it gender equalizer is some of the answers some of the answers that we had in so the questions that we raised in the in the survey shows that actually most of the responses from men and women are almost equal there the few social the the role of social media playing in women's empowerment very similarly in many levels that revolutionized media consumption
another question but I was given that enhance freedom
of expression and these are also the findings based on Egypt UAE and Saudi Arabia for our service being these are snapshots in time that may change in what after this theory was taken but these are at the time of of the surveys taken these were the impressions that we got so let's talk about the good quickly we also
the photos the euphoria of the Arabs Arab
Spring and the Arab revolutions and that materialized into something and in many countries or some countries at least into a more democratic state while others is still in transition
however what we know is that it actually a large number of the population in the Arab board 43 million of them today and I have new social dynamics and that affects their lives the use of social media by many of those young people made trust transmittable through some of the communities that in other words if you look at the how the activist use social media not even active is even people in civil society and it lowered the cost of creating a trust relationship between different groups I mean this is arguable but if you go in the in the secret groups on Facebook with and see what activist do and how they even without them knowing each other they put themselves at risk I mean in their life at risk and that will give you an impression that even by being in that such a secret social trust toward the connection that helps in a way to 2 Bush activism to do something what we also know is that there was a shift in 2011 and the users of social media from primary social users into political uses so more people using it to disseminate information and to engage in with citizens even if you're government to organize protease citizen journalism and other than the previous ways of sharing media and entertainment and when we asked in Tunisia and Egypt and the during the revolution we got around 90
85 to 90 per cent of the people responding at the time Facebook users saying on the mean and this is the respondents of the survey up to 90 % saying that the uses of social media or Facebook during
the Revolutions was primarily political either raising awareness organizing protease or other holiday using Twitter if you look at the hashtags the top
used hashtags on Twitter from February we also had the results for September and March this is in the Arab world they always correlate with the revolutions at the time today in March it's by having that's the 2nd 1 is the the anaerobic them behind in Arabic English than Egypt and but the most if you like the most critical I think that probably social media example that social social media had a rule is how the demonstrations were ignited in many countries in many countries it was a Facebook event or a page of a call for a date that date as on Facebook or using social media other social media primarily Facebook that generated a point that everybody decided to go out and take it to the streets for certain cause it materialized into Protestant every single time other than what which was area and the 1st call for a for a demonstration in February and that was because social media was closed blocked for 3 years before that date in Syria that's 1 reason so what about the bad side and this is the stuff that is gaining Morozov would like really and so in by the way these are and these are just photoshop for those that not 3 just in case you're wondering so what was
the reaction in many countries in Egypt the 1st reaction by the government was to hold the kill switch let's close the internet people are using it to demonstrate to organize and this is not good so that was the reaction for 6 days during the revolution in Egypt the government blocked the Internet however that backfired people and the didn't anymore my
indignation started and it took a life of its own and even they created their own Facebook wall interviews with offline so what was the primary
impact of blocking the internet in Egypt this is what we are searching Egypt and Tunisia during the Revolutions or just after the and the reaction that was surprising it at the time that it was a positive thing most of the users or most of the people that answered this question said that it was a positive thing it made people more determined and pushing pushing them to push the undecided people to take it to the street because they felt that 1 would right was taken away from them so some Governments learned from that
mistake 5 days after Egypt unblocked blocked and then I'll block the social media and the Internet the Syrian government actually unblocked social media sites which was blocked for 3 years before that date so they saw that 1 this is something that could backfire and the now it's growing in popularity plus many would say that they actually wanted to monitor what's happening online but that's also
taking place so I mean this is not new in the in the Arab world this transparency aspect of and has been going on for decades and centuries ago this was this is the way it was in Damascus for example and this is the big thing in the middle is where they the government holds all the Treasury all the gold and that's in the middle of almost the Grand Mosque of the city so if you're in the government and want to take money from the Treasury to use it you would have to walk between them prayers and see that you know everybody would know what you took how much you took etc. but that information still wants
to be free today even even during the demonstrations when everybody was blocking the internet and some governments people who came up with very innovative ways of disseminating information other than the normal Bluetooth dial-up browsing anonymous browsing the satellite phones you know some 1 of the most interesting 1 was the did make this this photo on the on your left hand side this is a makeshift battery with a speaker with a USB connection and sometimes with a wireless controller and that this this is put in different areas around the year by demonstrators just to you know when they when the Internet is disconnected even electricity is sometimes disconnected from neighborhoods people will use this to either organized you know you put it somewhere in it 3 and rooftop whatever and either use it to organize or even just a letter from but
evolutionary songs the other bad thing I would say about the social media users is the most moderate
postmodern policymaking and the information we think many off what's happening in the policy-making cycles in the Middle East today or even on the international level is based on social media as a primary source especially in cases like CV again where access to information is not available by journalists or the media so social media sources generate or move the information from 1 from the ground citizen journalism so journalists pick up mainstream media picks it up and then it goes to think tanks an organization then goes into the foreign policy making cycles which also recycled again through social media that's a weak link you know nobody should be having such power to reach you know some of the information generated on social media are used in the in the United Nations Security Council for example without proper checking I would call it the friday names foreign policy making in many ways but
this is related to power the friday names of very popular for every Friday has a name in many of the revolutions others stiff they can place especially Yemen
and and Syria in you have around 20 thousand people on Facebook voting for for and name of that Friday and sometimes that name would be we want arms tool to fight against the regime and that 20 thousand people on Facebook there anonymous they're mostly not sitting in for example if in case you talk about the case of Syria and their data mining the way that this goes into the policy-making cycle because this is picked up by Al-Jazeera and its export as this is what the people want and then that's picked up by
policy makers justifying doing something like arming the rebels for example based on a few thousand people who decided this and this is very powerful and then there's the poorest Arab spring with the
diplomatic tensions mean want them the most recent 1 is is always the case in between in that created a buzz between Egypt and Saudi Arabia where the embassies were closed and this is something going going but many people are using it in different ways in a chaotic way in different countries so what is the impact on the the
integrity I touch the support of a little bit and on this a little bit but there unprecedented Erysiphe report from under-reporting in the Arab world based on over-reliance of social media sources and you have today restrictive information the environment by the government and an avalanche of and information coming from advocacy groups from activists this effectively means that many of the in the media becomes the victim of sort when they don't have access and sometimes willing willingly so in many Arab countries there are many emerging risk which I will not be going through a lot but it affects the Internet censorship monitoring the legal implications that are generated and created today the propaganda war but that are taking place especially in countries where the population is split and and there hate campaigns by both sides and amplified by social media and then there's opportunism and this is not the side of the whole thing I'm in my view there and there are creating many businesses created based on this lack of accessibility to information in many of these countries there there are professional perception management companies and techniques social media-based gene-gene change consultants that get usually contacting me all the time and social media revolution businesses and then there are these celebrity activists phenomena and this is something that you know I'll keep it on the to label it as the ugly side of the whole thing so finally just a quick to lessons out of money maybe is that maybe people should be realizing that activism is not citizen journalism you know which 1 is it which which ones should be relying on being there is there is there are many people are merging the 2 especially the activists which became which lead to immediately coming out of the victim for political struggles and and then you know creating this perceived reality is not a valid legitimate form of advocacy because it can cost slides in many ways then there's the media credibility entity integrity that is also very much affected after the social media revolution if you like the work there are limited fact-checking there are of this is there's over reliance on social media sources and there's no liability you know spreading the information I was in some of the largest media companies in the Arab world watching in the newsroom I was in the newsroom and I watch how the news took place I mean somebody on Skype asking a question for an anonymous person somewhere nobody knows where and he was saying she was saying at the time how many people were killed in homes today and you got immediate responses 31 you 30 seconds later it appeared on the screen on lot without any fact-checking but that's too much information what if the person which mistype 30 31 instead of 13 anyway reality is bad enough nobody needs to
amplify or make it worse and this is enough in a way a citizen many citizen journalists are doing the same the same thing I'll leave it here and maybe we can talk about this also in the questions afterward if so
because they never know you gonna take and take as a little bit further and address why this is such an interesting topic of what we can learn from the b we really mean apparent that the 1 might
think that affect the and all I can be found pretty easily either through further on my blog technical theology . org G and I will be putting out the presentation and all of a number there they're already going in there in case you're trying to find it and as you said and improve the University of North Carolina and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society is also not by talking about the stopped what is part by talking about what I the social media and new media ecology helps break autocratic model the way it was practiced in the Middle East and why it presents a challenge and we all know the bloody thing and there's something about you know there's something that there's something other social media and we know we place uncertain world about what a certain of the conceptual understanding of what role it played not certain that I really not wanting to discuss with the required the people not because I don't have an answer because I think this is through the wrong and misleading should be this this is better death rates so I could just yell instead that would work maybe also I I really do I think the question was Facebook group people have the wrong conceptualization of what Facebook is to begin with your Twitter is to begin with it's like thinking of the online world is that it's the matrix and we live in the sigh these are 2 separate things and we just transfer for 1 or the other that's just not the way it is just the way the telephone and other forms of communication is part of 1 world Facebook and twitter and all other social media platforms are not separate world it's just the integrated into this world and in fact that is exactly why they are a powerful platform so I I just don't have I I think the question is wrong so I also think of online or offline is the wrong question because why is that in the the war what's actually interesting of for me is how the public sphere transform when you have these new tools the infrastructure of connectivity altered and a whole lot better than that of the integrated and therefore changing the way we do things and this is important when I say I don't want to discuss whether online or offline I do not at all mean to say that there is no difference there no different properties between the online world of bits and offline world of atoms in fact there are quite different properties just because the way the Internet is organized in the way networks traveled all and all sorts of models of control of people there are based on the assumption that you can physically control information that you can physically control atoms are being challenged and I want you trees are being disrupted exactly because the atoms do not have the same properties of travel bits on and so it it's gone and the properties of sharing and copying and travel that of Adams that to give an example the music industry has been facing quite a challenge because our copyright laws this in the United States and a lot western countries are based on the idea that when they sell you something they're not really giving up their control over it but because of the physical thing like a CD or a book that you can just make 3 million copies of it right so the properties of atoms that they're not easy to copy is what our copyright laws are based on and they're being challenged in an autocratic countries and also in you know more developed democracies 2 moles of power based on controlling the physical people information are being challenged by the integration of a very different kind of infrastructure of connectivity not all all of them to control the public sphere and why do Adams change how the public sphere is controlled what they have plural sticking around and political science term that I find quite useful in understanding why social media makes a difference and under even example I've been giving a lot of talks and I'm going to get in trouble 1 of these days for giving this example I know that this time so let's assume that you guys are all really really bored at the moment you're thinking what is this what is he talking about I really hope I you get some coffee at what time is that you really fidgeting and you're unhappy about you may use think there by yourself thinking which is really boring you're probably not going to get so in the middle of my talk and say 0 you're borrowing just walking up right after I through that were socialized into lower social creatures we don't really go and this from people like give this example in classrooms to and I'm really afraid 1 of these days somebody's going to be like the weight of but what you see in that you all have a backchannel that are Internet and working really well and you're all able to communicate with each other and pharmacists reading this is really boring and I here's coffee outside you can imagine how this could actually break down what political scientists call plurals the ignorance where you wanna in fact your privately held views are in fact the majority but you do not know this because there are various barriers to sharing your privately held views so that everybody finds that weight we all think the similarly we all want to walk out of here we've all had enough is enough tools to gain there and you get really the in a country or a region where the public sphere was so severely controlled breaking of plural thinking erence where your idea of unpopular regimes can be so powerful and I know a thing that these governments had been doing to our control the public sphere was disproportionate punishment of and what I mean by yeah let's assume you decided you had it and you're going to get up and walk out anyway but let's assume that I have about the water that I'm able to dump on the very 1st person that walked up right that thinks it's quite unlikely that you will be the 1st 1 to do it because I have a strong way of punishing the 1st person that walk that all of these I have a way to punish 100 people play follow very severe punishment for the first one to get out of that really this way the people and we think this disproportionate punishment of the student is a very integral part of every autocratic regime it's not just that the Chinese government is afraid of a single blind lawyer going from village to village right not the no 1 person isn't that we deal with this example is that if we let this person while all the others do that is how it works that's why we see no torture and you know very very disproportionate punishment integral to a lot of these regimes now what happens when you have a system in which you don't necessarily have to be the 1st and you can coordinate so 50 people to get that 1 the just because autocratic regimes can operate and punish without institutional checks and balances does not mean that they can actually be punished every center is 100 thousand people on streets they have constraints on the resources they can't do everything and finally that is a way of preventing a cascade of descent from happening so finally already talked about this so that you can this that we are all Holly played website which was where the january 20 5th uh projects was 1st announced and called for and what this meant in Egypt was give people a place and the data that they could show off right after Tunisia where you know the sense that change was in the air but instead of going out of 20 30 40 50 people at a time that they had done the a year before and the year before they had January 25 protons worst of 150 people showed up and then 5 thousand police showed up you know which is a 2 level is not very useful so you you had hundreds of thousands of people clicking on I like that yes I'm going I have a friend of mine said it must have been the 1st revolution in history where people said yes I will be attending the revolution in response to divide and then show up on the very 1st day we have thousands of people show up which is very important because once you have 5 thousand 10 thousand people it's harder to punish a few and then this can start a cascade so public isn't that a
concept it's not what you know the point is that the Egyptians learned that Mubarak was corrupt the point isn't that Tunisians learned eventually was scrubbed deploying and using their new means of information flows they could talk to their fellow citizens that they read and more importantly maybe they could make the calculations on how to proceed together rather than being punished 1 by 1 so it's also this is I show you had limited effect and the shape of the new members and the from a survey we did during the unrest in time reuse the protesters survey it's a sample thousand it's a small sample which means we did not randomly sampled which try randomly sample but the situation was so dangerous status was impossible so it's not a perfect representative sample of but it is quite large for this kind of survey if the academic among you these are usually very hard to do and we did this during the unrest so with even harder to so and this was published in the recent issue of Journal of communication it was not wall for the month of April unfortunately we've gone back to pay wall but if anybody wants that just find me and I've been e-mailing it to everybody and I'm looking for ways to make it more accessible so these findings all published in a peer-reviewed journal and especially if you numbers so the wrong way so we to 1st year of the project also have an atom by looking things up but also help the protester heard of it but about 28 per cent heard it 1st from Facebook members in the online offline merger and to me this is striking because Facebook was Arabic only in 2009 so in 2 years we're seeing how they became such a prominent sort of conduit of information so did you produce and share unusual so from the protesters as it's happening about how health the participants in our sample did not but about how the cell just in the sample there are 5 100 citizen journalists just in the sample so if you extrapolate keeping in mind that this is not a representative sample of you you know maybe not 50 per cent of the we found the particle review of 10 per cent were doing there's that means the tens of thousands of citizen journalists in country at the time you can see why it's so difficult to keep you from getting and they
call it a little show you like and I think is a
good thing about was the primary means through which people shared visual now to work for example the small percentage but you have to understand that ecology right so all
because an ecology we're played a key role as
a bridge so it's not just about the percentages right we're very useful in getting the news from time career to outside the world and things very often useful for within the country because of the way like the light weight of Twitter we can also just look at the percentage of of the person themselves are striking picture I took of interior during another protest and my here on the 8th floor of that building is Al-Jazeera camera and that's the famous sort of camera that protectively forward all work and access the protester I took this picture he was wearing those diarrhea square freedom Facebook photos which they're selling to to restaurant or you know that's kind of like what's become this that value little strength of the pyramid this fairly faithful T-shirts together make a living and it's a great time to go into by the way I know there's a lot of scary news coming out but there's not that many tourists and there's a lot of things that quite nice going on so some people either taking photographed and a lot of the steps shown on Al-Jazeera part of critical values you don't always have people on the ground but it didn't happen in a vacuum there were networks of citizen journalists who have been working with broadcast organizations like Al-Jazeera that plays a key intermediary role in fact that's what I mean when I say online offline integrated is of for example and I can you know this conference itself but I have heard from many activities that I keep hearing of complex things 1 is globalvoices which is the organization that I know lots of people from the people tell me again and again they played a key role in making people around the region me I hear about Republic people from the region sometimes from different countries met here for the 1st time in person and that was important to their you know ourselves in the trust network I hear about things like they're bloggers meeting and in Berlin 2009 so there was this offline face-to-face trust network on top of the online network on top of the Al-Jazeera students and journalists network they're all mixed together that helped create a kind of information flow that's just was not possible before these tools and that autocratic governments did not at the time at which the diffusion know how to respond but I thought he explained they are now trying very hard to learn so I just more than 100 words but this is my article and I'm like the nodes in my blog I did a only cool multi-varied regression which means we control for demographic factors to see how social media users behave to make sure that social media is not just a proxy for education or something like that for example is not just that the educated people were more active and they also happen to be social media users that's just bracket and from 1 year to the shore of my finding is that when you control for other things like age like education and what you find is that social media users were more active in the broadest there were a lot more likely to be there on 200 in that crucial 1st day that people at Internet home were like more likely to be in the protester was it Justice brought Internet people who were using the internet you know for socially and through social media were in fact through lots of sort of a multivariate merically analysis they were there in those 1st crucial days of the sense of finding all world this is the primary mechanism for producing and disseminating concept content about how our sample was participant and citizen journalism of and all of that is right I I just put the sort of reference there for people who want more detail than as I said I will be happy to send more so upset about social media is more participation lots the questions that will talk just a little bit what more participation means is not yet and it's not following more participation because more democracy democracy is a lot more than participation participation can lead to things that are not always positive it can be complicated there's a lot of new wave and government part adapting and the edge trying to response by we asserting their control over the public sphere which has been challenged I believe pretty much everywhere and you talk a lot about that so if you depend on these things that I talked about if few government or and this was the defendant under information monopoly control over gatekeepers posted ignorance divide and conquer advantage of speed or were the people if you depend on all sectors to write your business or to write your government I believe that there is a change in challenge in here and on the here they comment people
a year and we will see how this plays out so thank you
very much so now I think we have some time for
questions from the audience please just of there will be microphones going around and if you wear the microphones so we can see the moon well he stand up and ask questions as direct them to the value obtained and please anybody have any discussions
on the issue of demographics Sephardi presented the good bad the ugly and here's a question the thank you very much for him in office and the fire from University of effort thank you very much for the 4 year excellent presentation although I must say I haven't gone into the report that you mentioned and the fact that I mentioned there are absolutely fascinating what new social media has another question is regarding the social media and the Arab Spring although in Libya and Tunisia fall in north Africa but the called as an arab spring this is something that we need to think about another 2nd question is I'm like this and I'm not sure Our what are the facts mentioned in the report but could you please highlight certain issues that for example there are still countries there is a minority there is a kingdom ship and the the social media doesn't really play a role is it because we still need oil from there or is it because of you know we are giving them a little bit of a room and the benefit of the doubt certain countries very moment can still not drive the car but there's also is there a case that there is no massive unemployment there are there is no use there who would like to use the social media secondly the social media itself the technology and some they its role in this region in the Arab region are Middle East all around the game it's not a new thing I'm back in 79 many mom Khomeini was leading the Iranian Revolution very very reliable lots on technology as well remember the facsimile machines remember that tape recorders that was also media revolution why maybe if you could highlight and how you have mentioned in the report why these countries this region rely on this new media which is more synonymous with the best and technologies thank you and by the UN and ensure I think the 1st question was regarding the naming of the arab spring if
I'm not mistaken knowing that's a larger question means there's always somebody who will not be comfortable with some name or another arm and then there's the whatever you consider politically correct or would have some people would like to use that name Arab uprising some people use Middle Eastern uprisings awakening all other kind of names so you know it's just 1 of those names that and I don't like cleaning globalization but I use it because we would build on anyway so that the last question other question you ask is the and the whole may need data and how it to you know the tape recorders and how it could influence or was the main driver if you like and that was considered to be the main driver of the and Iranian revolution of the thought it through information flows in different ways it's fast using social media it's there are more links between different groups of people in society and there is a trust element and it's more interactive and user generated it's not top down like what was in the case of many so it takes it it becomes faster less controllable and that the fact that you know when you have a critical mass of users using social media and they create this these endless links to trust trust links between each other and if you 1 of these links generates information it will come be considered as real and right and you know something to act upon by the others in the cell and the trust circle and these are all elements that should be considered so there are there are virtual civil society movements if you like created in in the in the Arab world in these countries where they didn't exist in real life they didn't have access to our people didn't have either civil society movements because the government's didn't allow them to have three parliaments because there was no Noreen elections or representation taking place and there was no free media and suddenly there was this channel with a critical mass of users using it to effectively create changes and it worked and as the main event in my presentation you know these are the some of the elements of how it did work and you don't have to 3 main come from actually
flicker so back to 848 the springtime of the people which actually happened in Europe and that tends to the both the real world
communication and the railways that were just being started in Europe and telegraph which was 1st starting to spread the news were a key part obviously not the only part of the there was this thing back for that so I completely agree that social media predates digital media absolutely in fact the Iranian Revolution was 79 is a very good example of small media in personal media versus the challenging the control of the public sphere and there a great book by and about the everyday environment they called the small mediating mediating around 79 if you look at you see the very same dynamic it was just more prudent slower at that time in in terms of you know other places where there is social media but not necessarily enough I think I don't think either of us are saying that it creates a set where there is not it is more of a way to challenge the public sphere where there is this sense and in fact even in the Gulf region which is much better off we have ongoing fairly you know brought flattening is broad fairly broad uprising continuing and Bahrain and social media is a big part of the story so it's not like social media this magic wand but it does change the dynamics when there is already descent underground and people are just looking for a way to come together and organized and there was another question here thank you for both of who talks about love them and what I'm
interested in the role of democracy will play in future we could and with very good to realize to the operation uprising for freedom and now in each of the parliament which consists of the Muslim Brotherhood to the Salafist parties um and I'm wondering just my Western bias that um or is that a problem with that of problem which emerges that will have in the future this modern middle classes who come before social media like social media and uh rule people who vote for conservative parties would have of permanent revolution and even when there is a democracy said that 1 of the particular that speakers you like to
answer the question of which which we feel comfortable and and I'm not sure which if you think I'm from specified in this so again I mean so the mean there is that that's that's typically take take a look at how social media demographics grew in Egypt for example that just for the sake of the example you mention it started with In the beginning of 2011 on the the end of 2010 with a small number around a million or a million and a half people on Facebook that speaking Facebook as an example today it grew up to around and at the time it was primarily people with the English language abilities class young educated students these over the main demographic today if you look at the end of the user's friends on facebook you'd have been there is a larger portion of the user base in Egypt which was at the time around 50 to 60 per cent english speaking of what people were using Facebook in English today is much larger work people using Facebook in Arabic which means that it's going beyond the elites and isn't treating the masses and this is going very fast the influence of number of users and so what what I'm saying is that social media and if it reaches and becomes representative all people on Social Media become a representation of the people in the real society of the population then you will have a better representation of what's taking place in society not just you know not just the view that the elites are meeting with the social media revolution and reaching our improved providing democracy and freedom of speech knowing you would have a Pandora box you have the society itself being represented and everybody using the same tools to push their agenda and and try to reach the you know political office if if that's the case so yes you will have a more representation of many conservative groups or maybe even the government that you know will have a better use of social media to actually press these movements and and even an extremist groups even violent groups are using social media very fluently in some of these countries currently so you know it'll be it'll be whatever exists in society this is what I think it's not going to be pushing freedom or democracy or whatever it'll be just an amplifying boring you channel of representing what's happening in society and and the OK thanks
it's a really wonderful talk and I wonder be great to
hear either of you actually go a little bit deeper inside the data and social media use so I love the media ecology framing of course as enough and shameless plug person and I will be talking about that this afternoon in the occupied the ecology talk but so 1 of the things that we found in looking at how social media is used in occupy movement is that really I we look inside the broad these figures right there are people who spend lots of time developing digital media skills and produce really nice videos and followed by many many people you know on Twitter and there's there's sort of reproduction and not going to college hierarchy but there are some people who are very effective and become known and trusted and followed by many and nothing that is critique and it's really interesting the nodes in the dynamics of the citizen media and activist media spaces for some people do emerge as sort of the actors in the in the in the new media spaces and if you could talk a little bit more about how that works inside the context of the arab spring and those uprisings and that would be great to hear that more more fine-grained analysis of the than 0 yeah these are the properties of people who would like something on capitalism those you have more followers with the effect of that of that article from the time by the way he was doing research with Christie on the occupy movement and 1 thing that I find fascinating about the Arab uprisings in the occupied is exactly what it says is that there's actually a not that larger network of key people who have been working at the media skills their networking skills the political organizing that form the backbone and kind of what I was alluding to by saying there is this you sort of this smaller network embedded in this larger network embedded in these big as any in the Arab spring in the Arab uprisings the network goes back when I talk to people maybe to thousand and the 1st attempts are like that and try Iraq war protester Cairo 2004 2005 those arm when people started learning how to use streams how to organize and you see when you look at the time when I meet people and like diagonally from Seattle 99 and they were they're trying to do the same thing and they have built and this this incredible knowledge infrastructure key people that you don't necessarily see the 2nd thing is that I wrote about the size of that is this really illegals revolution social media is an open space that is correct but important thing to understand is that open spaces of networks can talk hierarchy that I will use the word hierarchy completely find more easily sometimes them structured spaces because in an open network you have a mechanism which you might call the rich get richer where if you already have some attention on you then need common in view and then you get more followers on Twitter and then you have more of a voice and then you can interview so in my 1st initial analysis for example during the 1st few months of the uprising you could clearly see of the light that we needed go very quickly enough everybody else will sort of more disorder hanging in there is increasing but not at the same rate if anyone's network theory that kind of preferential attachment rules of what we call power laws in which there are a few people with very high level of visibility and lots of people with less see this in the blogosphere you see so it's not flat space of open space that's different but 1 interesting finding that I find this is kind in unison elements of research that does that published by after the talk I will go through that is that the network even though it's hierarchical because of these properties we have these unfortunate field experiments when somebody gets the rest of the experiment we have a hierarchy and somebody on top is taken out and what happened what see is that the network seems to spring up on new hierarchy so it's quite more resilient that's not like the film rights movement and you can go and assassinate Martin Luther King it's not like you can take 1 person out and then the network collapses because of the network is is different kind of institutional but it's not equilibrium back into a hierarchy that I think it's called back to the question of where we know that the the economy more democracy is not the 1st of all those people we have flat faces no OK and I can signal that we don't have
much more time for it but there was 1 more question to which can be taken with questions yes OK great such things as soon as I have 2 questions for you I'm looking for
Institute and we did some research also on the role of social media and in the Arab uprising so the 1st question is as far as the guy from your presentation and the you would think the numbers will be from Egypt annually from from the to you square actually right so hold closet transferable and the 2nd point is on the role in general of social media I see the the impulse that it gives the the even if we have like 5 thousand citizens journalist for the momentum in individual tools like the number is not much but it's just so therefore it's if you to go whole number it's it's not really representative for a report that it brings momentum very true but it's still just a minor party would like followed by thousands of my research is in this 1 the agent Pioneer
Square and it's in fact what is the purpose of the survey and that's what we meant that finding and broader regional numbers they can look at that and for the 2nd part that 500 citizen journalist from my little sample of what they have so if you project here talking about tens of thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of jobs right what was the news director of YouTube said to me and you should have news director use it is probably the biggest news organization in the world today she said that after about a power of anything of significance happening anywhere in the world they get media I this year in the case of Syria in spite of the enormous efforts to suppress there are hundreds if not more video coming out every day and this is the the that makes sense how do you understand all that I completely with complicated but I think the classic kind of information suppression or something would happen somewhere he just wouldn't know what happened and then you find out 5 years later 1 year later if you try to go back and reconstruct I think that error is effectively over I'm not sure what it will lead to but I think that just on a pay mycelium and a try an and bring it to an
end and there are more questions than what people do you talk more questions that hard so I would encourage both of them have posted here where they can be reached at which widow or how they can contact you think it's great and and maybe you'll stick around somebody was asking questions during the break that would be excellent so thank you very much thank you because you're following up on a very
informative presentations and here at the time you know you you know