Could a State in Europe or the US Be Toppled Using Social Media?

Posted on January 31, 2011


Announcers analyze and pronounce that social media have helped engineer the toppling of governments in the Near and Middle East.  But has the genie been let out of the bottle?  Journalism has fallen into the hands of the people.  Anyone with a computer of any kind can get word out there in text or video about anything.

Does this mean it could happen here or in Europe?  Does this mean that politicians NEED the social media on their side?  Queen Elizabeth has both a Facebook Account and a YouTube portal.  She wants to stay in power more than most.

It this a MOB TWEET?

Just today the term “mob tweet” entered the lexicon (if I  have that down right).  Hard to perceive.  This phrase would hardly describe White House tweeting – it is not the most prolific tweeter. This may change things.  The other day on a blog post I inferred that the US had done nada vis a vis the situation in Egypt. Fellow blogger at http://crockettlives.wordpress.com ventured a comment “But SH, the Administration is doing all it can–they’ve issued a Tweet”!

All governments know now that once the people are used to communicating widely with one another, they will find a workaround again to do it.  In Egypt, people were logging into Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in France among other workarounds. People were also going door to door.  Today they are standing on street corners handing out photocopied information about the million man march.  Can’t shut down all of the photocopiers – or can they? In the US, it would not be beneath us to reinstate the pony express if that’s what it took.

It is not out of the question that someone somewhere is working on a way of communicating over vast areas through a means that is less regulated and the cost of which might be more reasonable.As it stands now, the “haves” in the sense of money and education are guiding both their fellow “haves” and also the “have-nots.”  Democracy is relative in many places; yet all men and women ought to be free.  In our zealousness, let us not leave anyone behind.  And let us not be surprised by our technological future now that experience with mass communications is in so many hands and in so many places.

In Egypt, anarchy has not yet broken out.  It is an old civilization used to dealing with momentous internal and external events from where it is located.  Like China in the East, it is more accustomed to westerners than most other countries in the area.  Egypt has seen it all. This cosmopolitanism added to their own innate being and character has made a turn to chaos less possible in recent days.  It is evident everywhere as a feeling of helping neighbors and those of other religions seems to continue.  The citadel has not yet been stormed.  The protesters are demanding but they are not out of control.

As a result, unless it is civil war, it is possible that that Europe or America could look about the same in the midst of a similar scenario. It has less to do with how much you have to eat than how much you value yourself and your neighbor that will determine events in the early days of a revolution.

Tomorrow there will be a million man march in Cairo.  Ahead of this, it has been announced that all mobile phone service will be shut down.  However my dear Egyptians, if you had a DroidX and it was set as a hotspot – SamHenry asks – wouldn’t you be OK to keep contact?  Ah the people will find workarounds.