Egypt: The Twitter-less revolution

"[I]f protests on 25 January took place in the context of a veritable flood of information, yesterday's massive demonstrations happened in a literal vacuum. Suddenly dragged back to the land-line communications era, the protesters didn't know about Alexandria or Suez; they didn't even know what was happening across the river. It didn't matter. Protest organisers basically bypassed the idea of coordination altogether and just told people, Protest everywhere." (Index on Censorship, via @blakehounshell)


  1. the other thing to consider is: If people can’t communicate in isolation then they have no choice but to communicate in person. By shutting down cell phones and the internet they forced people to leave their homes in order to find out what’s going on. Even simple, non-political questions like “is my brother okay”.

    1. And something tells me this is a very good thing. People communicating face-to-face is what it’s all about. -v

    1. Yes, I could distinctly hear yelling, and you know the saying “In a vacuum, nobody hears your protest chant”

  2. I guess it’s the same here. When I worked training law enforcement I remember one of the guys who’d done undercover work investigating militias, he said that the signal to rise up in armed rebellion is not a signal, so much as the lack of one. In other words if our government cuts off communication a whole bunch of people will take to the streets, batshit mad, and that will be a day when I’ll stay home and watch the cat.

  3. If M is sincere about guarding Egypt from sliding into fundamentalist crap, best to turn on the internets as fast as possible. It seems that the most heinous forms of nationalism thrive on chaos and lack of communication. Cooperation and altruism require the ability to communicate and trade. Shutting everything off clearly has no effect on the rebellion. This is the most amazing thing to happen in a long time.

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