Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt

Facebook and a new form of opposition in Egypt

with one comment

Samantha M. Shapiro has an exceptional piece in this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine on Facebook’s role in organizing an opposition youth movement in Egypt. Shapiro also brings to light the attention paid by the State Department’s public diplomacy arm to Facebook, including this December summit featuring the Obama campaign’s new media team. 

You can find the Facebook group created by the State Department, the “Alliance of Youth Movements,” here. It gets even more interesting. The first thing listed in the group’s description is “THE MARCH AGAINST AL QAEDA,” scheduled for March in 20 locations around the world, including Baghdad, Mumbai, Cape Town, Beirut, Bahrain, and an unnamed site in Saudi Arabia. Its precedent is the “One million voices against FARC” group that inspired a protest of one million+ in Colombia last February, the largest so far against a terrorist organization. 

The Colombia and Egypt examples offer hope for technology-driven efforts in “civil society 2.0” and “dorm room diplomacy.”  But it still seems a hope fraught with ambiguity. Shapiro’s best sentence is at the end of her article on Egypt:  But what does it mean to have a vibrant civil society on your computer screen and a police state in the street?

Advertisements

Written by Mark

January 26, 2009 at 1:24 am

Gaza and social media, post-ceasefire

leave a comment »

Wired’s Danger Room has followed up on the Israeli Defense Force’s use of YouTube in the Gaza campaign, and finds that it was not so much planned as suggested by Gen-Y types. According to the piece, “social media” is under consideration for future IDF plans. 

I’d still argue that there’s an inherent conflict between information operations and social media, which leaves the IDF at a disadvantage. The question is whether two million hits on YouTube changed anything, beyond solidifying Israeli opinion and possibly moving U.S. opinion (this survey from RasmussenReports indicated a split over the campaign, while more recent surveys claim broader U.S. support for Israel). The second and more important question is whether this even matters relative to the impact that social and new media channels have in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well among Arab populations abroad.

Written by Mark

January 22, 2009 at 5:12 am

Tragedy in Gaza

leave a comment »

On one level, it’s difficult to write anything truly meaningful or insightful about the tragedy that’s playing out in Gaza. I’m going to use the word “tragedy” for the reason that there doesn’t seem to be an exit for any side in this conflict. And like any tragedy, the danger is not just to the protagonist/antagonist, but to those caught in their wake.

In this case, that includes leadership elsewhere in the Arab world, faced with angry demonstrators with instant media access to the Gaza situation. I heard an expert several years ago advise an audience to “watch Egypt,” a focal point for condemnation for Hamas, Iran, and Syria for its closure of the Gaza border. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah called upon Egyptians on Sunday to force an opening of the border via mass protest, without explicitly advocating a coup – see either this article on Ynetnews or this post from an Egyptian blogger for more details.

Written by Mark

December 29, 2008 at 5:10 am