While we hear over and over that social media played a hugely vital role in the politcal and social revoultions that took place in the middle east, exactly how big and how lasting was the impact? An article from Mashable, entitled What Happens to Social media After a Twitter Revoultion analyzed just that.
War is still going on in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, though its no longer the biggest storyline of our nightly newscasts. Two social media analystics firms, Crimson Hexagon and Sanitas international did a three month study where they looked at the tweets coming out of these three nations. They wanted to look into what happens when the drama mellows, the flags stop waiving, and life resumes. By crafting a study of specific words on twitter the analysts could see what the citizens were talking about now. The main discovery of the study is that after the uprisings brought down decades-old regimes, “citizens in Egypt and Libya use social media to talk about revolution and state-building in two distinct registers: instrumental and interpretative,” according to the study’s abstract. Essentially in Egypt citizens are expressing their views of the current political atmosphere and talking about the new institurions and how to build a new government. In Egypt they are looking forwards and backwards. In Libya the scene is different. The people seem to be struggleing more, after Gaddafi’s death in 2011, people were taling about military clashes and state building, and still about “the punishment and fate of Gaddafi’s family,” and “the crimes of the Gaddafi era,”, showing they were astill angry. In Syria, where the nation is still at war, most tweets were about war clashes, violence, coping with death, and calls for international intervention. The infographic below expresses these results.