If you look at the past year in world events, one common theme seems to stretch across many of the common stories: revolution.
And the spate of demonstrations across the world- in the Middle East, the US and Europe, among other places- have often been credited to the rise of social media. Activists and panel members discussed the role of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook at a recent conference on Internet Freedom at the Hague, and underscored the unique way such services pave the way for change in a manner that was not previously possible. 30-year-old Amjad Baiazy of Amnesty International is currently facing charges of “weakening the national resolve” in Syria, and of social media’s ability to shine a light during politically charged times, he said:
“It has turned every citizen into a journalist. Every citizen can use Twitter to broadcast… In that way, it’s not just those in the outside world who can see what’s going on since the revolt started. People on the ground also started to really know. They can see the crimes, they can see the corruption.”
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of a Thai news site, talked about the changes social media poses to sanctions on speaking out:
“There should be a clear message to politicians. The consequences for (voicing an opinion) should not be a jail term. No-one should be detained because they expressed a point of view.”
A larger set of some comments from the conference can be read here. Have you witnessed change occurring in real time over Twitter, Facebook or similar services?