Khalid Marbou

Graduate Research Assistant, Masdar Institute


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Social network movements .. Could this be the end of politics as we know it?

After the last two successful revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia that came out from Facebook and Twitter, and the other pending movements in Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and Jordan.
Could this be the end of politics as we know it? is the cyber-organization the new trend in youth politics at least in the third world countries where typical politics have lost credibility and effectiveness.
Please answer briefly and clearly, if you don't agree with the need for this question, or you can't really relate to it, please state your reasons..
Thank you

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    Feb 22 2011: Despite the fanfare about Twitter and Facebook, I personally am not convinced that these mediums deserve the huge amounts of credit they have been given for the revolution.
    I think more than cyber organization, it was cyber-propogation of an idea. That idea would not have been sustainable had it not been for a large number of on-the-street protesters. I do not agree with the thought that typical politics have lost its effectiveness - even if some politicians have lost their credibility, their methods of working still apply to the masses.
    Social media is an interesting tool, and in the case of areas where such protests are popular, it provides an outlet for a younger, more urbane and educated section of society to voice support. While this group represents an important aspect of getting attention worldwide, especially in the West, they are only add-on's to the primary organizers, who still follow traditional methods of protest and raising awareness.
    My experience in a "developing" (I prefer this compared to third world) tells me that youth politics is still in the hands of the masses, and not this select group that is so well represented online and through social media. It is likely to take a very long time before social networks end politics the way we know it in these places
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    Feb 21 2011: I really hope so. I hope that social media movements will contribute to avoid this kind of events being hidden from the mass media any longer.

    For example, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, president of the IMF, stated in November 2008 that the “Tunisian economy is going well” and that Tunisia is “good example for emerging countries.”

    And also "I congratulated President Hosni Mubarak, and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, and the economic team on Egypt's impressive economic performance in recent years."

    I cannot understand how the underlying situation was not event taken into account as a political scenario. I can guess but don't actually understand clearly why the mass-media didn't say a word about this before. It's like all of the sudden a revolution emerges from nowhere.

    Now Dominique Strauss-Kahn says that the cause of the crisis is due to the rise of food and fuel and offered financial assistance from the IMF to both countries to overcome "the crisis in which they are immersed." A crisis never acknowledged before in the mass-media.
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    Feb 20 2011: There are a lot of forces at work in the current revolutionary situation and I don't think you can give all the credit to social media. In the incredibly fast times of today's world, big and often slow governments with their bureaucracy often can not react fast enough to deal with issues. It is the social media that helps us organize faster and channel our voice better than conventional means. In the future governments will still run the country but the rise of transparency and upward communication will make them smaller. Maybe smaller government is a good thing? Social media also is hard to squash so voices of decent will be hard to eradicate and institutions like wikileaks will serve as a deterrent to unjust government actions.
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    Feb 20 2011: I don't think so. In my opinion they are more of a catalyser rather than anything else. They ar eplaying a key role in these revolutions, but because they are the ones which have given the power back to the user. And that is what they want from their political leaders; to have their power restored back to the people. However, political elites should be warned of these movements even in so-considered democratic countries, where access to power is often limited to the political oligarchy.