The Role of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in the January 25th Revolution of Egypt

عصام منصور

المستخلص

The purpose of this research is to highlight the important role played by Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in the January 25th Revolution of Egypt, and how they worked in unison to deliver the voice of the Egyptian protesters to the whole world. This research is based on material from two focus groups with individuals who participated in the January 25th Revolution of Egypt regarding how they perceive the potential role of SNSs in this revolution. Nineteen individuals aged between -20-40+ were interviewed in depth on their SNSs use and perception about their role played in this revolution. Questions relating to demographic characteristics, use and role of SNSs were asked. Regarding the findings of this study, the demographic characteristics showed that the users of SNSs in the Egyptian revolution were more likely to be male, younger than 30 years old and educated. University professors followed by engineers, lawyers, teachers and students were the most professions using SNSs in this revolution with a monthly income of more than E.P 1300 ($220). Participants were more likely also to not be new users of SNSs, where more than have of them had been using them for about two years, and the highest use of these networks among them was between 1-3 hours a day, and almost two-third of them was logging to SNSs at least several times a day. The study showed also that most participants had from 101-150 friends. To communicate with friends and to keep in contact with existing friends were the most very significant reasons why participants spend time on SNSs. Almost all participants confirmed that the role of SNSs in the Egyptian revolution was very significant to them. They indicated also that SNSs, especially Facebook, Youtube, Blogger, and Twitter respectively, have played a major role in connecting demonstrators and coordinating their efforts against the regime. All participants indicated that they highly used SNSs in the Egyptian revolution as being vital platforms for mobilizing. They indicated also that they used some other networks, such as Fillker and Hi5, but not much as the other four networks at which they had at least one profile, and some of them have more than one. The key value of this research lies in exploring new use and role for SNSs in the political and social change taking the Egyptian revolution as a real and unique example!

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