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Revolution 2.0

User darkroom productions

According to The Nation, Whael Ghomin, the Google executive detained by Egyptian police for 12 days, tweeted this as he found out that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was stepping down:

"Welcome back Egypt!"

Ghomin claims that social media was essential to the protest's success, and even it's creation. From an interview made shortly afterthe announcement that Mubarak was stepping down:

"This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook. This revolution started... in June, 2010, when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians started collaborating content."

But how important is social media, really? In June of last year, The Atlantic ran a piece by Jared Keller questioning the importance of social media in the Iranian Green Revolution, also known as the "Twitter Revolution." Here's Charles Krauthammer, from the article:

"There was a lot of romantic outpouring here thinking that Facebook is going to stop the Revolutionary Guards. It doesn't. Thuggery, a determined regime that is oppressive, that will shoot, almost always wins."

While tweets and status updates did not overthrow the Revolutionary Guard, the article does go on to point out that “the Green movement remains the first major world event broadcast worldwide almost entirely via social media.”

Will the events in Egypt be seen as an effective deployment of technology too new or unfamiliar to be used effectively in the Green Revolution? Stay tuned. Or twuned.

-Brian Short