Unlike other modes of communication like face-to-face forums, phone calls, and SMS, OSN enables the instant transfer of information and views among the masses cheaply. During the Egyptian Revolution where one million protestors were mobilized and assembled in Tahrir square on 25th January 2011, OSN can be said to have provided a powerful way of rallying protests and building emotion. The Egyptian uprisings focused on political and legal issues including lack of freedom of speech and free elections, uncontrollable corruption, police brutality, and economic issues like low minimum wages, fluctuations in food prices, and unemployment even amongst the nation’s most learned youths (Weaver and Bowcott, 33).The speed and wide coverage of these sites provided a more effective means for exchanging information and views concerning the existing situations. This made nationals living beyond Egypt’s borders open to realize the state of affairs in their country and express their support for the protests against President Hosni Mubarak. OSN has facilitated the freedom of speech which is an important ingredient for political conflicts. People are cautious of what they speak in public against the government because of the fear of being arrested. The government can also control anti-government meetings that could lead to possible conflicts. However, it is almost impossible to control communication through SNSs. This, in effect, encourages freedom of speech as seen from President Mubarak’s fruitless efforts to crack down on the cell phone and internet users. As a result of the virtual freedom of speech that was established through the use of the social networking sites, information regarding the situation of the country spread like a virus. Users of the services were free to post anything on these sites and they were also able to modify them real time. This made it possible to doctor the messages posted in a way that it generated anti-government views among other users.
Boyd, Danah & Ellison, Nicole. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 13(1), pp 210-230. 2007. Print.
Jensen, Jon. “Behind Egypt's Revolution: youth and the internet: How youth activists used social media to counter Egypt's security forces. 2011. 22 March, 2012. Web. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/egypt/110213/social-media-youth-egypt-Revolution . Retrieved on 22nd March, 2012.
Mainwaring Simon. (2012). “Exactly what role did social media play in the Egyptian Revolution?” Online: http://simonmainwaring.com/facebook/exactly-what-role-did-social-media-play-in-the-egyptian-Revolution /. Retrieved on 22nd March, 2012.
Papacharissi Zizi. “The virtual geographies of social networks: a comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld.” New Media and Society. 11(1/2). pp 119-220. 2009.
Weaver Matthew and Bowcott Owen (30th January 2011). "Egypt protests – as they happened". The Guardian (London).Online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/jan/30/egypt-protests-live-. updates#block-33. Retrieved on 22nd March, 2012.
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