What’s the next Egypt in social media revolution 2.0?

The social media revolution 2.0 has just begun. Tunisia’s Twitter revolt sparked Egypt’s social media revolution that successfully ousted its leader of 30 years. Is Algeria the next ground zero in the people’s uprising to transform their nation?

Fearing that Facebook and Twitter could help topple its government, Algeria took significant steps to cut off the Internet. But don’t these government officials know shutting of the Internet didn’t work in Egypt?

After completely cutting off its citizens from the social web and cell phone service, the uprisings only intensified and spread even more widely throughout the nation of 80 million people.

Although these social networks are responsible for ousting regimes, they solely weren’t the catalyst.

Social media made mobilizing the masses faster and easier. But it was the human voices peacefully calling out for change in the spirit of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. that served as the stimulus for igniting the transformation.

For months, Google executive Wael Ghonim shared with his friends and family that the social web would change Egypt and the rest of the world. After all, he did meet his wife online.

When he arrived to his family’s home in Cairo for vacations, the abjuct poverty in Egypt would weigh on him.

His arrest days after the protests that began Jan. 15 only served to transform the thin-framed 30-year-old as a powerful symbol for the opposition.

The immediate crackdown also reminded Egyptians of the increasingly commonplace practice of their government to arrests citizens deemed as threats – mostly without a charge or even letting their loved ones know their whereabouts.

Ghonim, who was a prolific social media user, became Egytian President Hosani Mubarak’s public enemy No. 1 – a threat because he single-handedly flipped the switch for Egypt’s revolution by creating a Facebook page that drew more than 70,000 friends after a blogger in the costal city of Alexandria was beaten to death by police in a cyber café.

Police brutally beat to death blogger Khalid Said, sparking a Facebook page that ignited Egypt’s revolution.

The murder of Khaled Said sparked outrage on the streets where 1,000 people gathered to demonstrate against the police brutality.

The Facebook page, “We are all Khaled Said,” coupled with tweets mobilized Egypt’s tech-savvy young generation into political action the world has yet to witness. Those protests began Jan. 15 and ended with jubilation Feb. 11 after Egypt’s vice president announced that Mubarak had finally stepped aside.

As the military takes control of the nation promising free and fair elections, what role will social media play in ensuring that a true civilian-led democracy takes root in the most-populous Arab nation? Will Egypt’s future leaders come from the young protesters and revolutionary organizers in Tahrir Square?

Egypt’s revolution has already had profound impacts in the Middle East. The mostly peaceful revolution led to Jordan’s king to disband its unpopular government. Syrians too have take to the streets. And the people of Yemen are mobilizing for change.

And with the volatile situation in Algeria, it will become the norm that all revolutions and uprisings will be fueled by social media – no matter the attempts to quash people’s voices for freedom.

It was the Iranian revolution, which began with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, that highlighted the courage of the people to stand up against their totalitarian government.

My full realization of the full power of the social web was seeing graphic images via Twitter and YouTube of a young Iranian woman named Neda — Farsi for “the calling” or “the voice” — who was shot and killed by a police sniper.

I promised in the comfort of my computer room in Southern California as I witness that gripping scene of Neda grasping her last breath that her voice would never be silenced … in my heart, mind and actions to be a force for good.

Tomorrow’s revolution will begin on Twitter today.

I would love to hear your perspective. What role will Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other new social media site have in the future of regime change?

Could it happen in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia or even Mexico? And how are the United States and other Western democracies being transformed by social media?

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  • Sea James

    Thank you, Ted. Neda touched and inspired many of us. You have reminded us to be motivated too. Peace, strength and love, dear friend. Love that heart and mind of yours

    • Thank you for reading the post and sharing your kind comment. I am but one person, but together like-minded and like-hearted people united can make a difference.

      My thoughts and prayers are with those throughout the world struggling for better lives!

      Warmest regards,

  • J Steele

    First Ted, thanks for writing this. I didn’t know all the details that you have here. The world is changing and social media is a very powerful tool for connecting like minded people to bring about these changes at a pace that wasn’t possible before. So far, they seem to be for the better as the ‘revolutionaries’ are seeking freedom from repressive regimes. If I were a corrupt leader of a repressive regime, I would be very worried these days! Hooray for those using this tool for good and I count you as one Ted! – J Steele

    • J,

      Appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your insights into the gripping story of social media users overcoming tremendous odds to topple their repressive governments.

      Closer to home, we as the guardians of freedom and democracy must always raise our voices when we see or hear things that are inconsistent with the values of our nation.

      Social media continues to have profound impacts on our lives — globally and personally. And I’m excited that we are in positions to fully harness its great powers for greatness!



  • Rochelle Veturis

    Ted, thank you for writing this piece. Well done my friend. I saw an interview with Wael Ghonim tonight, and one of the things that struck me about this man, was his idealism and willingness to forgive – it was incredible. He openly gave forgiveness to the soldiers (not officers), who beat him while he was imprisoned. He understood that these people were far less educated, and saw him as a rabble rouser, trying to tear apart their country. This man’s willingness to extend forgiveness so freely and openly, and consider where his oppressors might be coming from – and what they may be thinking made an impression on me. Ghonim is an incredible and courageous human being. With people like this at the helm of these movements, on social platforms, dictators and leaders abusing their power can be called to accountability. It’s history in the making, and I amazed how technology has made it possible for us to participate and have a front row seat.

    • Rochelle,

      Yes, I saw Ghonim’s interview on 60 Minutes. He reminded me of all of us in the twitterverse — courageous people doing the right thing.

      He will definitely become one of the many heroes of this largely peaceful movement that transformed this nation.

      Appreciate your retweets that helped this post become the most-read story!


  • Give people the full-internet and social media and democracy will inevitably and quickly grow from it! This new wave is not just about introducing democracy it’s about improving it where it already exists–look no further than Govtogether.com where they are working on implementing a truer democracy in the U.S. They have the plan, team, and timing….to become the “Tea Party” movement of 2012.

  • John Lusher

    Ted, I am more impressed with you through each post that you craft. Your incredible passion flows through your words; that is rare. Thank you. Just as the images of the protestors in front of the tanks in 1989 at Tiananmen Square captured the world; the images of Neda has grasped us all. The difference between 1989 and now? Social media of course. I believe we are witnessing the true power of social media for change and for good; however I do not believe we are even close to the power of what social media can do. Citizens that are suppressed by their government, individuals yearning for freedom and for their stories to be told; all of that is more possible now than ever before. If anyone wants to know why social media is important, just read about how the changes in Egypt came about! Excellent writing Ted; I am blessed to know you!

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  • Thank you Ted, for your posts about social activism and the internet. They are so moving and gripping. It all just stirs my heart for people to be given a voice. We just forget how comfortable we really are here in the USA with all the freedoms that we take for granted. What is next now for Tunisia, Egypt, Iran? And where is the next revolt?

    I often wonder where we would all be if this technology had been available at the end of the first Gulf War, when the opposition went against Saddam Hussein and were massacred, while we stood back and did nothing. It was not our war. Today it is still a war that almost no one really understands.
    When I see opposition to evil becoming victorious without any US help, I am thrilled. I pray for peace in the Middle East, and Peace on Earth.

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