Tweeting like a Pigeon: The Internet in the Arab Revolutions

Author(s) Miriyam Aouragh
Contact Miriyam Aouragh, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS, UK. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 6, Iss. 2, 2012, pp. 70-91
Published November 10, 2012
Type Comment
Abstract The extraordinary uprisings since December 2010 represented the long-prepared transformation from fatalism to people power. The online–offline dialectic allowed the revolution to be mediated with global ramifications - from Wisconsin to Barcelona to Athens. This techno-social nexus forms a crucial element of the overall push and pull factors and this contribution reassess the "Net Worth" from a critical perspective. The fetishizing flora and fauna labels from earlier hyped political-techno events --"Cedar", "Green", or "Orange" revolutions-- that coincided with particular geo-political algorithms, were initially copied and pasted as emblematic solicitations. But whether Wikileaks or the Palestine Papers, and YouTube videos or blogs disclosing practices of torture and corruption—opinions have been shaped and decisions were mediated by online technologies. This piece demonstrates the overflow of YouTube music clips through the prism of the Tunisian revolution. I will look at these dynamics through the lens of Palestine as an informative ethnographic comparison because it helps indicate the power structure behind technology and allows me to assess the multiplicity of internet politics and argue that online activities and offline power structures do not exist in isolation and are unequally mediated.
Keywords communication studies, social media, Palestine, music, Arab Spring, civic engagement, public sphere, Egypt, activism, cyberactivism, censorship, Tunisia