Youth Activism and Social Networks in Egypt

Author(s) Ahmed Tohamy
Contact Ahmed Tohamy, Alexandria University, Qism Bab Sharqi, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 11, Iss. 1, 2017, pp. 86-109
Published May 10, 2017
Type Article
Abstract The arrival of the Internet-based technologies has made the work of professional activists much more effective and has attracted the attention of society and observers, if only because their internal and external communications became much cheaper and harder to be monitored. The new social networking technologies have provided the youth with new channels for participation and empowerment. This became true in a part of the world where the older generations, in either government or opposition, controlled the traditional political and cultural arena and dominated the public sphere. However, the younger generations gradually launched creative initiatives using online media in recent years. The younger generations have engaged in public affairs by peaceful means to bring about a change and to influence the decision-making processes and policies. In this regard, the new social media played a facilitating role in the long wave of continuous politics in Egypt, although it is not a causal role. It basically helped in the mobilization and framing process aiming to delegitimize the regime and demoralize its policies. The ideas and ideologies spread in the public sphere, and, in addition to grievances, enabled the young activists to present new claims and to behave in ways that fundamentally challenged the authorities. Indeed the social media impact could not lead to real change without physical offline action in society. In this respect the most notable actions, such as the April 6 Strike in El Mahala 2008 and January 25 revolution, were triggered by the marriage between online and offline activism, particularly when activists moved smartly between online and offline activities to create real challenges to the regime and to escape from police repression.
Keywords social media, Egypt, activism