Is it possible to make change with the mere click of a mouse? Social media has forever changed the image of the socially conscious individual. The political uprisings this past spring in the Middle East and North Africa prove this to be true. If it were not for sites like Facebook and Twitter these revolutions would not have had the global awareness and impact that they did. The ability to connect through these tools has become an essential agent to making a difference in the world.
As a freshman in college you can at first feel very small (I know I did) and so very far away from what’s going on in the rest of the world, yet social media has filled this gap permanently. It is important to note that the most effective way of making a difference is by getting out there but for college students it’s easier said then done to just drop everything. This is why it’s important to educate oneself with world events documented via Facebook pages and tweets because it’s a step closer to being a worldly individual, also, in today’s world we are all so much more capable to be just that. Social media is in a way amateur journalism because the crises experienced around the world are related directly by the most legitimate source: the people who experience such events.
During the uprisings of Spring 2011 I realized this was the first time in my nineteen years I was conscious of revolution and also saw what it looked like. To be honest, revolution for most of my life equated to what I read in American history textbooks and The Beatles White Album. A perfect example of how interconnected the world is today is reflected in my own experience this past spring. I followed the protests in Iran via facebook pages like 25 Bahman, which aims to bring to light the plight of the Iranian people under the illegitimate rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The fact that an average NYC college student like me could experience this on what is meant to be a social networking site shows how social awareness has changed immensely. On this particular Facebook page videos uploaded by Iranian protesters documenting police brutality and updates of progress as well as setbacks. The majority of global outreach by way of social media involved the youth of such troubled nations like Egypt, Yemen, Iran, and Bahrain. College students essentially ran this youth revolution; social media was such an effective tool, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen were forced to resign from their Presidential posts. Internet can serve as a catalyst for change and that’s why it’s such an immense threat to foreign dictators. An example of this is China’s censorship of Google. President Obama and Hilary Clinton have both addressed that Internet usage should be encouraged globally and it’s an attack on individual rights to disallow Internet connection to the masses of a nation. The fact that not everyone is allowed internet access makes it only more valuable and something to be greatly appreciated.