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First Egypt Quote of the Day: Less Deadly, Shorter, More Theatrical

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 3 2011

I think there is an overrating of the role of the Internet and social media in revolutionizing the Egyptian youths and the Egyptian public. For example, the most important factor in triggering the Egyptian revolution was the effect of Tunisia’s revolution, which did not start on Facebook. Neither did any of the other Arab revolutions. If it weren’t for Facebook, the Egyptian revolution would have started anyway. The effect of a Facebook call to a timed revolution with a large outreach (that activated an organized political activist community that’s been in the making for decades) is making the revolution shorter, more organized, with fewer casualties and more theatrical. These are important effects, especially to reduce casualties. But the multitude of factors involved with the startup, the process, and the success of the Egyptian revolution makes the Facebook effect a minor one. Additionally it is my claim that in the afternoon of January 25, 2011 when the masses came out, the Internet and Facebook became irrelevant. In fact all of the administrators of the Facebook pages and even the political activists were surprised that the demonstrators continued protesting all over Egypt on January 26 and beyond, without any Facebook page calling for it or organizing it. The administrators were now on the receiving end of the news.

— Ahmed Saleh, one of the administrators of the "We Are All Khaled Said" Facebook page, in an interview with the Boston Review. That page is viewed as one of the foci for discontent in Egypt that led to the Jan. 25 uprising.

Via Nancy Scola