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‘We Are All Khaled Said’: The potentials and limitations of cyberactivism in triggering public mobilization and promoting political change

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The Egyptian uprising of 2011 was characterized by the instrumental use of social media, especially Facebook, as well as Twitter, YouTube and text messaging by protesters. Facebook, in particular, was hailed as a key mobilizing tool for the protest movement, spurring the mass demonstrations of young protesters converging on Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the uprising. Of the Facebook pages that gained popularity in the Egyptian online community, one page in particular, ‘We Are All Khaled Said’, was credited with mobilizing and organizing the largest number of protesters. An English-language sister page with the same name was launched approximately at the same time, but was geared more towards spreading awareness in the international community of human rights violations and ongoing events in Egypt, rather than organizing protests on the ground. This article will discuss the multiple roles and changing functions of this particular Facebook page during different phases: namely before, during and after the Egyptian revolution, as well as its potentials and limitations in acting as an effective tool for public mobilization, civic engagement and political change.
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Keywords: Egyptian revolution; Facebook; citizen journalism; civic engagement; new media; political change; public mobilization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Maryland, USA

Publication date: 20 March 2012

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  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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