social media

The age of the image is upon us and the clock cannot be turned back. And yet the Mubarak regime is in denial. It started with muffling the voice of al-Jazeera. I was fortunate to be in Cairo during the first two days of the current uprising.

The age of the image is upon us and the clock cannot be turned back. And yet the Mubarak regime is in denial. It started with muffling the voice of al-Jazeera. I was fortunate to be in Cairo during the first two days of the current uprising. On January 25 and 26, when the roads around me were starting to be blocked, when sirens and loud speakers could be heard in the areas surrounding Tahrir Square, and when both the police and protesters were mobilizing in larger numbers than ever before, I was struck by the inattention that al-Jazeera was giving the protest.

Gil Scott-Heron once sang that the revolution will not be televised. The Tunisian revolution, and the continuing Egyptian uprising, would seem to refute the great man’s chorus.

February 4, 2011

As Arab regimes struggle with demonstrations fueled by Twitter and Al Jazeera, and U.S. diplomats try to understand the impact of WikiLeaks, it is clear that this global information age will require a more sophisticated understanding of how power works in world politics.

Soft power, noted Joseph Nye, is the power to get what you want without coercion. That’s a good kind of power to have, but hard to define.

The Middle East’s latest unrest has revived once again a tired debate about the power of social media. Recent headlines gush about the arrival of the “Facebook Revolution” or “Twitter Diplomacy.”

As events in Egypt move forward, the United States has appeared to be a befuddled bystander, reacting slowly and with a muted voice that cannot be heard above the din of those demanding freedom.

As events in Egypt move forward, the United States has appeared to be a befuddled bystander, reacting slowly and with a muted voice that cannot be heard above the din of those demanding freedom.

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