Facebook can be the birthplace for revolutions.
YouTube shows it all.
Meet Wael Ghonim, Google’s MENA executive and the mastermind behind the above mentioned Facebook page. He was “kidnapped” by Egyptian authorities and recently released.
Twitter spreads the word to the world.
Gone are the days where only power and money controlled the media. Nowadays, people like you and I have our share. Read how few talented and devoted activists made #Gaza trend worldwide on Twitter to raise awareness about essential human rights violations by Israel.
Blogs speak loud.
The internet became the most efficient medium used by minority and oppressed groups. Take the lesbian and gay community in Lebanon as an example. Bekhsoos, a queer Arab magazine published weekly by Meem, gives a strong voice to Lebanese and Arab lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. The Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor provides daily news feed read by more than 3000 fans on Facebook.
Then comes censorship.
No wonder the internet is the first to go down during uprisings (example Egypt, Iran and Tunisia) and social media is censored by many ruling regimes. The “Enemies of the Internet” list drawn up in 2010 by Reporters Without Borders presents the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Net: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
However, censorship is often futile. Look at how censorship helped a site like WikiLeaks become a global movement changing politics the way we know it, to say the least. Listen to why the world needs Wikileaks, by Julian Assange on Ted.
The point I am trying to make is that social media is becoming a necessity. You need to hop on if you have not yet. It is an essential tool for free speech, spreading awareness, connecting people and gathering support for causes that you might otherwise feel detached from, like sexual aggression against womyn in The Congo or gay and lesbian rights in the Arab world.
I joined Twitter motivated by fear of lagging behind. I thought if 175,000,000 are on it then I should too. Initially, I could not understand the point behind twittering, but I still tweeted. This has changed significantly. THere is much more to Twitter than I ever conceptualized. Few weeks ago I attended a medical “symposium” or “chat” about Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease on Twitter, hosted by #MDchat in conjunction with Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Alzheimer’s Association. I even used Twitter to chat with tech support of GoToMeeting to troubleshoot a problem. A great part of my human rights activism is done on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. This brings me back to my point:
A flutter of a butterfly’s wings in Beirut can cause a typhoon in Tokyo.
Typing a word can be the flutter.
All you need for change is a keyboard. What are you waiting for?