Share & Connect
Andreas Kaplan and Michael Heinlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media: collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and micro blogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life “Wikipedia, Social media”.
Today it had become almost the main source for information and secondary source for advertisement in the world. Twitter as a social media is not as popular in the Middle East as facebook, which became a hit over night.
Twitter for Egyptians is either unknown, or not understandable, so in both cases useless, but worldwide it is a good communicational tool between companies and their buyers, celebrities and fans or people who share the same interest — all can communicate easily and find each other fast.
Although twitter is an easy, fast communication platform, Egyptians used to prefer facebook because it has much more diversity on offer. In Egypt, there are many social levels — the lower class, middle lower class, middle higher class and high class — but they all have internet access at either their home or internet cafés which makes it easy for them to connect to social media.
It was easy to understand facebook and how people can communicate through it, which made it popular fast. But for Twitter there were two reasons against it: it came second and was difficult to understand. Twitter in the past didn’t have the advertising on the web it has today which limited its outreach in countries such as Egypt.
And for those who knew about it, it was hard and obscure to them to understand how it actually worked. Eventually the Egyptian people learned about Twitter and some created accounts but usage was limited as often is the case with communities that depends on personal networks.
The story took a turn during the Egyptian revolution on January 25 where protesters used twitter to plan the millions of protest and to discuss it without the knowledge of the government. The twist made a lot of people want to join Twitter to be able to follow the current events and reach audiences worldwide to tell them about the revolution.
According to India Times, “approximately 15,000 citizens used Twitter accounts to find and spread information about the protests.” Twitter helped spread the thoughts of the protesters and the events from el Tahrir square. Reporters, ordinary people and foreigners tweeted worldwide about the revolution both before and during it.
After several hours of protesting, people worldwide would know what happened through Twitter updates. News channels quoted the protesters via Twitter and three days later the government blocked the site from the internet because they finally understood its power.
The administrators of the social network knew about it and made phone calls to people in Egypt so the revolution could continue to tweet its message. They even made televised announcements to let Egypt know the world was listening.
Unfortunately after the end of the revolution, few have continued to use their twitter account. The age group still using it are also still between 16 and 35 years of age, meaning older people have yet to catch on. Still, you can find shops and companies in Egypt which have chosen to keep their presence on the social media site and use it for advertisement.
Twitter had a big role during the revolution but afterwards, only a small amount of people have continued to use it. Despite the excitement and wonder of the events that led to the fall of Mubarak, Twitter remains an unremarkable communications platform in Egypt — simply the fastest platform for information dissemination for a limited amount of time.
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