“Does Social Media Pose As A Threat to Traditional Media?”

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Reyhana Athie, ”11, Communications

The uprising in Egypt has made it clear that social media has become the new method of getting out information and sharing it with others globally while traditional media has become, well, sort of a tag along following the lead of Facebook and Twitter.

Social media has played a key role in the changes going on the Middle East as it promotes and transforms a basic form of communication: word of mouth.

The series of uprisings in the Middle East have been surging for quite some time as people have begun to take matters into their own hands beginning in Tunisia – people began spreading the word about the unknown events going on in their government based on the information provided on Wikileaks.

Egyptians also used Facebook in order to communicate among themselves which ultimately helped them successfully uproot the Mubarak regime after over 30 years. Facebook being the most dominate social network used was the main source of communication among the people as they began to organize demonstrations against their government.

This form of “neo-media” has begun to change the outlook of reality in the Egypt. Social media has allowed those in the Egypt to express themselves as they addressed their government about its corruption with a new-found sense of liberty, a sense of pride in being able to determine their own future despite the iron fist in which Mubarak has dominated the land.

During the uprising in Egypt, social media stood as the only beacon of truth. Egyptian State Television watered-down the chaos that was taking place in Egypt in pursuit to mislead their viewers.

As a result, many journalist have resigned from the network.

Among the journalists who resigned was deputy director of Nile Television, Sahira Amina.

Now a freelance writer for CNN, Amin worked for Nile Television from 1989-2011. She resigned during the protest and joined the people in Tahrir Square stating “I am on the people’s side, not the regime’s. “

The state television network blatantly disregarded the unprecedented revolution that was taking place: one led by the people.

Traditional media has been known to investigate issues going on in society and present it to the people. In this case, traditional media exposed the sad truth that traditional media fails to project unbiased truth in today’s world as every major network is owned by a conglomerate that imposes it’s political views on producers and reporters in order to influence what consumers see and hear.

Mubarak’s regime also shut down the internet in Egypt in order to stop the uprising among the people that was gaining more and more clout and building pressure on the regime.

Instead of relying on trained journalists to relay the truth to their society as well as the world, people such as Wael Ghonim, a Google specialist in Egypt, started a Facebook page in the name of a protester, Khaled Said, where people began sharing photos and videos about abuse at the hands of Mubarak’s regime.  Ghonim began organizing protests and posted the dates and locations in order for followers of the Facebook page to attend (they had over one million within months).

This form of neo-media relies on eyewitness reports for breaking news. It is faster, it is front-and-center, and it has the power to mobilize millions of people for a cause. It has allowed the unfathomable to occur.

Given the uprising in the Egypt, social media has emerged as a very essential tool in which its value surpassed the mere use of posting up pictures and post up our current mood to our “friends.”

In the Egypt, social media such as Facebook has aided people to communicate with one another despite opposition from their government in order to voice their opinions which have led to change.

Egypt|Facebook|Wael Ghonim|Sahira Amina

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