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RANYA KHALIFA: "Democracy Digest"...

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On social media, upheaval and hate.

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 2:10 AM

Can't get away from your smartphone come day or night? Well, you're cerainly not alone as the addiction to smartphones, facebook and Twitter hits an all time high in our world.  But, isn't it an oxymoron that social media networks have in fact created a de facto parlallel universe of sorts where you could feel closer to strangers you'e never met in real life more than you are with people you already know and socialize with in real life?

But, wait...shouldn't getting to know one another via social media lead to more understanding between cultures and people?? Shouldn't sharing ideas together make us more open and tolerant of our differences?? Hmmm, well, one look around our world tells me quite a different story. For one, much of the world's political and ideological wars are indeed being battled out on social media sites instead of on conventional battlefields of yesteryear! Take a look at the so-called "Arab Spring" as one case in point.  Wasn't Twitter and Facebook at the heart of much of the organizing and start-up of the sentiments which stirred and ultimately culminated in an "Arab Spring" in Tunisia and Egypt?  So much so that internet was actually cut off in Cairo during the first few days of Jan. 2011 (DATA)

Fine. There is a positive correlation between social media sites and political upheaval in our world today. Is that bad though? That question is left to you to ponder.  But one thing I am concerned about is increasing hate in our world. "Hate" is a very strong word and I detest using it, but I see more of this destructive sentiment throughout our world. Social media sites are being used as springboards to spread negative emotions between groups with vying interests whether in politics to win voters over in political campaigns, or for example to recruit jihadis for ISIS and the so-called  "Islamic Caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.

Within this context, we see how social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are being scowered by governements to locate and apprehend suspects which could be involved or linked with terrorism. So, in one way social media can indeed spread chaos and stir unrest but can simultaneously help governemnts and police track "persons of interest" and bring them justice. In other words, you could be digging your own grave when using social media to spread unrest or perpetrate "crimes of hate".





Categories: International Affairs / Impact on Egypt...

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