Arab Spring

How do the articles on the Arab Spring uprisings relate to Shirky’s discussion?

The Arab Spring events relates several Shirky’s arguments: Effectiveness of coordination, Collective action, Small World pattern (highly connected individuals are in holding the overall structure. “Takriz”), Amateurization, and Balance of power.

Shirky argues that social media represents an important role in society; Freedom of Press. Especially in an environment where the country exert control. The social network allowed people in Arab to coordinate protests and share information between themselves without being block by the government, since they use Facebook as main platform. This was a major change in the game, because social network brought power of media to the people. According with Shirky this Amateurization balanced the power once in the hands of the government, but it is now in the hands who owns a computer.

Social Network allows an easy group formation and a coordinated collective action. The big change that technology brought society is that people are not longer disconnected from each other, like Hassan Mostafa said: “Social media has created bridges, has created channels between individuals, between activists, between even ordinary men, to speak out, to know that there are other men who think like me.”

What is Morozov’s argument in his article? How does he confront or critique Shirky?

Morozov states that the social media is a simply tool, and revolution is made by individuals who really put effort and care enough to engage against any political institution. He also mention that the collaboration between Tunisian and Egyptian cyber-activists were not virtual, that they met in person to discuss strategies.

Morozov doesn’t agree that the protests in Middle East were spontaneous, or caused by a flash mob, or digital activism. He believes that the Arab uprising was created long before Facebook or any other kind of social media. Morozov argues that social media “are just places that revolutionaries go”. He mention the dismantling of the Berlin Wall to support his arguments.

This is the article that I found:

The article is about the new technologies developed by Google to help people in repressive regimes to access internet. This article is very “Shirky”, since he believes that technology has an important role in environments that severely restrict freedom of speech. The mains goal of this new technology is to rescue the human rights, and the freedom of expression.


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