The engine room has blogged about the way that the April 6th Youth Movement in Egypt has evolved since the uprising. But even before the uprising, Facebook was changing the way political groups organized. My work on this topic was presented at the New Media Alternative Politics conference at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) at Cambridge in 2010, and was just published in a working paper series at the university.Continue reading
This post follows up on the earlier discussion of Marc Lynch’s recent essay. It was written mostly yesterday, before it became clear that the march by Martyrs’ families would elicit the violence and response that it did. I post it now for later consideration on why it should have been clear, especially while writing this post.
By proposing a framework for how to consider digital media’s potential impact on Arab public space, Lynch’s essay raised the question of how to reconcile the enthusiasm that Egyptian digital activism continues to merit, with activists’ failure to gain representation or substantively engage in processes of national governance.Continue reading
Preliminary Descriptive Analysis from the Tahrir Data Sets
We have been crunching the Tahrir data slowly and steadily for some months now, but have not had the time to focus analysis on producing any clear and focused results. Part of this is because there is simply so much data. Part of it is because we are still finishing and coding the data set on protest “coordinators” (we are looking for a better word). But mostly it is because we both have day jobs. This situation will be remedied somewhat when we finish producing the codebook mid August, and can finally release the raw data for public engagement. In the interim, we have done a number of preliminary analysis, which will be coming out in the International Journal of Communication next month, and which I have been presenting to academics in the hopes of raising interest.
What we have uncovered so far is not terribly surprising: Digital media was not dominantly used during the protests, but it was used in special ways and its users seem to relate to it differently that traditional media users relate to traditional media. But it is nice to have hard data with which to move beyond the hollow and chafing question of whether Tahrir was or was not “a Facebook Revolution.”
Perhaps the most useful outputs so far are the several research questions that we feel the data can service, and shed sorely needed empirical light on precisely how digital media functions in the new information ecologies in which protests and other social movements invariably occur.
Below is the presentation (also for ppt download with animation)