Monday, February 21, 2011

Silence and noise

I haven't been posting lately because a) I'm stupid busy and b) there's so much happening so fast that I can't keep up with it the way I'd like, and I refuse to just bullshit.

That being said, I thought I'd throw up a tidbit from Abu Muqawama that is one of the only thoughts on the role of communication technologies in the overthrow of Mubarak that I actually find interesting and unexpected:

Both sides of the debate, a friend told me last night, are essentially correct: yes, the Internet, Facebook and Twitter played a terribly important role in mobilizing the Egyptians who filled the streets of Egypt to protest the regime. But yes, too, it took ACTUAL BODIES out there in the streets and not "Facebook Revolutionaries" just re-tweeting the struggle from the comfort of their homes. One interesting piece of analysis I have now heard from several smart observers is that by shutting down the Internet and the cellular phone networks, the Egyptian regime actually *increased* the number of Egyptians on the streets protesting. Not only did shutting down the Internet force people to leave the house and physically connect with their fellow protesters, but one friend noted that if you really want to piss off all of Egypt, a good way to do so is by shutting off cell phone service. More than Facebook or Twitter, cellular phone service unites Egyptians in a virtual community. And by shutting down cellular phone service, you're sure to anger Egyptians of all generations and classes -- and not just the college kids with Facebook accounts. So score one for the enduring power of 20th Century technology, perhaps.

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