You might wonder what does Revolution 2.0 means, is it a new social media channel? is it a new inbound marketing tool? the answer is neither. Revolution 2.0 has been dubbed as the Egyptian movement and revolution that brought down a regime of 30 years.
First things first, social media simply put; is social content created by the people for the people; and overwhelmingly taking the place of the regular news channels including press, radio and TV.
The numbers of blogs, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as video sites like Youtube are on the rise. Generation Y; our youngest generation were born with computers and internet as part of their lives. They stay connected online 24/7 on laptops, PCs, smart and cell phones.
What does that have to do with Egypt? With 60% of the population under 30 years old i.e. GEN Y, it becomes evident why the use of social media, which comes as a second nature to them, will be significant.
The situation in Egypt was more than deteriorating, with a regime that became more and more disconnected from its people for 30 years. 90% of these young people were unemployed; and with the increased brutality of the security forces that became pronounced after the killing of a young Alexandrian man ”Khaled said” in June of 2010, it was a matter of time till the bomb exploded.
Again what does that mean? The first thing that the ex-Egyptian regime had done was on January 25th was to shut down the Internet and the Cell phones networks. Why? Because they believed that their biggest threat came from the internet and text messages communications to the masses.
The Mubarak regime had strong hold on print journalism, radio and public television. The only way for people to have shared the brutality incidents, the name of the officers accused of torturing the detainees, the pictures of the strikes in other cities, pull people together; was and still is the Internet sites like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Youtube, as well as mobile text and video messages. Social Media is a non-censored, emerging two-way democratic power that solidifies people’s efforts, increases their connectivity and the Word Of Mouth spread of news, views, and opinions.
Now let us take a step back and see how the whole social media role and involvement evolved:
1- In the early 2000’s Mubarak started grooming his eldest “Gamal” to succeed him as a President, that is when the first blog efforts in 2004 started, where normal people would rally others, to go demonstrating, knowing the risks of getting beaten up or even jailed, at a later time came the Facebook groups and Twitter.
2- Since the people lost trust and confidence in the government owned newspapers and magazines, they turned to blogs as few young bloggers started emerging. Few were thrown in jails but still managed to smuggle their blogs to share their experiences of harassment and beatings
3- The strikes that took place in April 2006/2007 and 2008 in “Mahala city” which is the heart of textiles of Egypt with more than 30,000 employees striking for better living conditions and better pay; gave birth to Kefaya (Enough) movement: a human rights movement – mediated by the internet- that people trusted and followed. Also emerged the April 6 Youth Movement, that started the Facebook group with the same name with over 85,000 members today. This group is seen as the precursor of the rallies that started on January 25th, 2011.
4- The social media channels as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube make it easier for people to connect no matter what their color, religion, or location is. As we saw in the Egyptian revolution they were from all walks of life, young and old, Muslims and Christians, men and Women, professionals and labors, educated and illiterate. They all forged a common goal and inspiration of “One Egypt” and no violence. It gave them a way to interact and have a two-way dialog, they built bridges of communications and found a reasonable common core worth uniting for “Love of their country”.
5- June of 2010, after a young Alexandrian man “Khaled Said” was killed by the police in day light and on the streets, videos, blogs and groups surfaced on Facebook and Twitter and forced the government to start an investigation.
The first wave of bloggers in Egypt were brought to trial for defamation, causing turbulence, misuse of communications, charges that could have resulted in hefty fines and or jail times.
Nowadays there are thousands of bloggers in Egypt, together with the Tweeters and Facebookers, they use their keyboards and their fingertips as weapons to fight the injustices of their regimes. All what they needed, wasn’t tons of money just a phone line or a cable to connect to the internet.
There is an old saying “You can’t miss what you never had”, but as soon as the Internet and social media channels entered Egypt and people start sharing and seeing new ways of life and democracy, demand for change became eminent. China still controls the internet and even banned the word “Egypt” from searches during the Egyptian movement days.
Technology is drastically changing our lives, the youth in Egypt used it to rally people for a better life, and use the social media channels as a tool for democracy, instead of just sharing that they are at Starbucks. In Egypt, smart phones and Internet cafes are very widely used; around 15 million Egyptians are web users.
The young protesters wanted to have a voice, to be heard, they broke down walls, they defeated fear, they wanted to implement their ideas and express them freely through social media and they did SUCCEED
With the help of social media channels an old regime of 30 years was toppled and brought down, so for those who say that social media is a fad, they better think twice.
When “Wael Ghonaim” The face behind the rally call on facebook and also a Google executive was asked, which country is next his answer was simple: “Ask Facebook”
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.
Picture credit to:http://ibmsocialbiz.tumblr.com