Hosni Mubarak is, to put it mildly, undergoing a struggle to maintain power. He has been president of Egypt for close to 30 years (since 1981) and, due to a public relations failure, is in danger of losing his position to a revolt.
While formal protests have not been permitted since 1967, when Egypt fell under Martial Law, organizers decided to use Twitter with the hashtag #jan25 to organize the revolt in a clandestine manner. There even was a Facebook page laying out the details of the revolt, where organizers claim to be taking a stand against crime, torture, unemployment, and poverty.
In response to this, Mubarak called for a shutdown of Social Media sites. Social Media however, like the Internet, is something that cannot be taken down easily or completely, and it’s a big mistake to think so. Third party services like Google, for example, created a voice-to-tweet service where someone can post tweets on Twitter from voicemail messages. Talk about the power of Social Media, and the Internet in general.
Needless to say, Egyptian bloggers contacted by CyberDissidents.org, an organization started by Nathan Sharansky in support of victims of authoritarian regimes, stated that the government’s move against the Internet was very “stupid” for thinking they can control it like they can control food.
Overall, though, it seems that Hosni Mubarak’s approach to the Internet and bans shows a lot of weakness which will only continue to breed hostility among the Egyption people. An 8 year old girl named Juju recently said it simply and fairly, posted the video onto YouTube, and since then the video has gone viral.
And, Mr. Mubarak, “Some of your police officers removed their jackets and they’re joining the people.” This is a priceless quote from someone who doesn’t lie.
There is no doubt that Social Media has changed the face politics in a major way. It is a power to be reckoned with and , like the internet, is here to stay.