Social media plays a huge role in society today, connecting people with common interests, ideals and the simple desire to share a laugh. However social media has also proven to be a powerful tool that can be used for more important purposes than posting pictures of your daily Starbucks – however fun that might be.
From 2010 to 2011, the world was able to observe the Arab Spring up close and personal thanks to protestors who used social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, with protests raging worldwide in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand, social media is being used to show the rest of the world the view of the people who are deeply involved in the conflicts. The harsh and even graphic photos and accounts protestors post help to gain international attention from otherwise apathetic viewers.
Not only is social media allowing the world to witness different countries fight for political change, but it is a tool that also helps protestors to organize their efforts. Currently, the group EuroMaidan is being utilized by European protestors amid the Ukrainian crisis. The Huffington Post reported that the EuroMaidan Facebook page “is being used to serve the dual purpose of spreading information and operating as a logistical tool for those on the ground.”
The group shares documents for people to volunteer at hospitals, to gather information on the civilians who have died and how to help the families who have lost loved ones in the conflict. There are also Facebook pages that are specifically used for helping people get medical care.
Social media sites are also allowing protestors across borders to share protest tactics. The Washington Post says that young people in Kiev posted videos of themselves making large molotov cocktails to protect themselves from the police which is, “studied and adapted by anti-coup protesters thousands of miles away in Cairo.”
Regardless of people’s political affiliations or views on international protestors, it is undeniable that the role social media has on propelling these revolutions.