Social media and the revolution in Egypt

Originally posted at socialaxcess.com

The revolt in Egypt has shades of the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Like then, the revolution has been supported and promoted by social media like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Iran cracked down hard, blocking many IP addresses and making the internet so slow that it was difficult to use, but Egypt has gone one better and shut down all internet and cell phone access in and out of the country. No doubt they want to avoid the bad international press and prevent the internet from creating another martyr like Neda.

The protests in Tunisia earlier this month were also organized through social media, to the point that the government was hacking people’s Facebook accounts to try to stop it. And it’s not only Arab countries that are worried about the impact of these Twitter Revoltionaries, in China the social media results for “egypt” are blocked entirely, to prevent any social unrest there.

President Obama has called for a lift of the ban on the internet and of social media sites in particular.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, with cellphone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.

While there is much to tout about the democratizing power of Twitter, it’s hard not to also note that the government is using it to track down and punish people. While Tunisia’s dictator was forced to step down and the blogger revolutionaries are hailed as heroes, bloggers from the Green Revolution are still being hanged in Iran.

Social media is a powerful tool, no matter who is using it. The revolutionaries have the advantage of being young and therefore much more familiar with the online world and governments are quickly learning that it’s very difficult to have both the internet and restricted communications.

Dearth of Posting

I do try to update this regularly, and even with quality content when I can manage it.  I’ve just started a new job and I had to work today, which is Sunday, for about 8 hours.  And I have to get up early, which means I can’t stay up late, which is when I do most of my writing.  It’s tough.

I’m also doing some freelance writing (for money!) as well as the NaNo writing, so it just turns out that blogging isn’t the highest priority thing on my plate.  Also, the thing I’m most focused on is how I feel about my current job and that’s not public blog fodder.

And so much interesting and/or horrific things have happened that I want to talk about and I’ve got an excellent feature idea for SheThought that I’m finding impossible to write because it involves way too many ideas and is going to be a short novel by the time I work through all the issues I’m dealing with in it.  When half your article is about how difficult it was to write your article, you’ve got to start rethinking some structural issues there.

Anyway, I want to do a quick rundown of things that happened this week that pissed me off and/or impressed me.

This made me cry happy tears: Little girl bullied for liking Star Wars gets hundreds of e-mails and toys in support.

This made me scream in rage: The Westboro Baptist Church (aka the scum of the earth) protested Elizabeth Edwards funeral because she used IVF.

This made Wayne Brady want to chock a bitch: The Salvation Army won’t give kids Harry Potter or Twilight toys. They will, on the other hand, give them guns.

This made me snark: Egypt thinks that Israel is using attack sharks against them. I repeat, EGYPT, as in a real country in the real world, thinks ISRAEL, also a real country and not a Bond Villain, is using SHARKS as WEAPONS. Seriously.

This made me go Hmm… wha?: Only 6% of scientists identify as Republican, which is even less than how many College Professors identify as Republican (14%), and we know what pinko commies professors are. The author and I agree that this is the problem, but our opinions diverge very quickly when he seems to think the problem is with Science and not with the Republican Party. Between with the uber religious and illogical ideas the religious right clings to along with the anti-science agenda of the GOP, it’s not surprising that few scientist would admit to being supportive of the party. The problem isn’t science, the problem is that the GOP needs to get its elephant head out of its elephant ass and start supporting science and intelligent thinking, instead of psuedoscience and intelligent design.

And finally, the last two things that have been impressing and depressing me: Wikileaks and Bernie “GIANT BALLS” Sanders.

Here’s an interesting documentary about Wikileaks. Here’s a useful timeline of events. And here’s an opinion piece that pretty much sums up my own feelings on the subject.

A balance must be struck between transparent democracy and diplomatic need, but calls for hunting down Assange and hyperbole regarding the cables do not further this important debate and seem designed only for media sensationalism.

From 1996 to 2009, the number of documents labeled classified has increased about 1,000 percent, according to an Information Security Oversight Office report. It’s as if the U.S. government thinks it must guide us rather than allow we-the-people to guide it. And it’s as if the government — and seemingly much of the media — thinks we can’t handle the truth.

And finally, Bernie Sanders, gotta love that man.  I have spent hours searching to try to find clips from the Stackhouse Filibuster episode of the West Wing.  I can’t, but I will link to a video of Bernie and leave you with a quote.

‎Tonight, I’ve seen a man with no legs stay standing, Dad, and a guy with no voice keep shouting. And if politics brings out the worst in people, maybe people bring out the best. Because I’m looking at the TV right now, and damn if 28 U.S. senators haven’t just walked onto the floor to help.