Power to the People: New Media has come to the Aid of Revolution

Yesterday I wrote a post on the Digital Journal, entitled, “Revolution and the Power of New Media” My view is that social media will change the way people will act/react against a suppressed regime. It has proven to already change the way these governments react when forced transparency comes into view and the world is watching. It’s already happening in this domino effect we’re seeing in the Middle East. I’ve also posted my article below:

The recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Bahrain and Libya are evidence of how new media is giving rise to a new confidence in suppressed nations.

The ability to collaborate at will, and send messages to the  world at large has provided a strong outlet to an otherwise disenfranchised  population. The world is watching and the power of new tools makes it  increasingly difficult for dictatorships to contain local events and sustain  any kind of propaganda it has created.
I’ve kept an eye on the events in  each of these nations.  Most recently, Libya linking to the most recent news via Google has been the my source for the breaking news from the man-on-the-street.   The constant stream from those caught in the situation is staggering:   Some noted tweets:

Sadly, the situation in Libya has  seriously deteriorated. Gaddafi has turned off the Internet and massacres  across the country have begun.

The massacre in #Libya  is disgusting & shocking. Can only hope it’s the last days of this  regim… (cont) http://deck.ly/~8eyod

u r growing & yr voice is being heard #gadafi    is out of his comfort zone keep the pressure.Millions of the arab  american r behind u

youtube is accessible in Tripoli, please  upload videos now #Libya

Muammar Gaddafi’s son: “We will  fight until the last bullet”  #libya

This past Sunday,  Feb 20th, the US Department of State (Bureaucracy of Democracy, Human Rights  and labor) created a page on Facebook denouncing the situation.

It’s  clear in Egypt, Tunisia and even Libya, that despite the government’s ability  to disable major communication channels, demonstrators are finding ways to  congregate and collaborate with resounding voice, defiant conviction and a  fervor that will not be denied.

Curation allows individuals to  aggregate relevant information wherever it occurs into one application in an  organized framework. I set up an account on Storify and tested this on Friday,  re some rumours about Steve Jobs’ ailing health. I pulled RSS feed using specific key words and applied the same for Twitter  and Facebook. By allowing me to properly sequence the events, this app allowed  me to (within a short amount of time) be an investigative journalist and  validate whether the stated rumour about the 6 weeks left that Jobs  purportedly to had left to live was indeed true. It also allowed me to share  my findings with my networks and provide everyone I knew access to the same  information. This information was critical in the Middle East events and it  has allowed individuals to pull in feeds from Youtube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter to create a chronologic narrative of all these events and syndicate them.

Another important innovation is Tor.  This  app can be used online and is downloadable on Android phones and claims,  ‘Anonymity Online:  Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic  analysis.” Used by journalists to protect sources of information,  and  “activists to report abuses from danger zones”, this application has proven  critical for Android users to access email, messenger without being tracked or  even blocked.

Tom Hayes of the Huffington Post remarks about a number  of other applications in his post a few days ago. His article gave a practical view of technology and means the common  people were using to make their voice be heard. Even the government’s insane  attempt to go to lengths to mute the voice of the people by disabling the  internet has not weakened individuals. Their voices and the images they’ve  created are loud and clear and it’s there for the world to see.

As I  write this article, Gadaffi is on his way out of Libya. I shed a tear as I  read, “There’s something  extraordinarily helpless about sitting here on Twitter while people are likely  being killed right now in Tripoli. #libya”

And  yet I am encouraged by the fact that I need not rely on tomorrow’s paper to  tell me what is happening now… That we have evolved with journalists and  commoners in a single voice…  A voice made that much more powerful  because of the technology that has enabled, and continues to enable its  amplification. It is so clear that new media is increasingly putting the power  in the hands of the individual, perhaps the much needed innovation that will  radically transforms the way people are governed.

The point here is  this and it’s quoted from a must-read article so well-stated from Macleans.ca: “The revolution is being blogged, tweeted, shot and  streamed by those in the act of making  it.”

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