I have always thought that because virtually anything that’s online can be published unchecked, internet reporting is often sensationalized a great deal.
Naturally, when I heard that there was a “revolution” going on in Egypt, I was sceptical of its legitimacy (or at least its scale).
In the spastic and distracted world of the internet, words like “revolution” help to make things stick. And sometimes things that are made out to be a coup are actually just a cough.
So I went about investigating what this whole revolution was about. I started by doing a Wikipedia search, and began reading. There was something big happening without a doubt, but to call it a revolution seemed hasty to me.
I followed a few links from Wikipedia, and then returned to find that the Wikipedia page had been edited.
I hadn’t spent more than twenty minutes online and the information was being updated already. It’s when I realized that I had been missing the idea. There was something revolutionary about the Egyptian protests. It was a media revolution.
I think the influence that social media had in shaping the protests is obvious considering the government’s blackout on the internet. There was definitely greater ease in organizing protests with access to social networking sites, but the protesters didn’t stop when the internet went down.
That rules out the notion that the “revolution” is dependent on the internet.
I think what’s really revolutionary about the protests in Egypt is that someone like me, is able to be constantly up to date on what is happening when I am on the other side of the world. I guess that might mean it’s more of an information revolution.
I’m sure that the Egyptian protests will be written about in history, but what I think is historical about it, is the widespread coverage on the internet that made it almost impossible not to watch the protests unfold.
The expression “one for the history books” is almost funny now considering history is more often learned on Wikipedia these days than in any books at all. The pages of history being written now are web pages, and in a way the history being made has more resonance because of its presence online.
It’s funny to think that maybe our class is in some small way playing our part in the “revolution” just by posting online about it ourselves. Though separated by space and time, the internet provides a forum for ideas to be shared, and sure, it’s pretty unlikely that anybody outside of our class will read what we have written but even sharing with each other proves the importance of the internet for spreading ideas.