It was 4.00p.m in the afternoon on the 11th of February. I was in my hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Ghana, working on my laptop and waiting for the next business meeting which wasn’t due until another 30 minutes. Then a breaking news alert on the TV caught my attention. The CNN anchorman summarily said that Mubarak had stepped down after 18 days of protest by the Egyptian people. My next reaction was impulsive; I went to my Facebook page and made an entry of five words on my profile page: Breaking News. Mubarak steps down. I then searched frantically on Twitter and Facebook for more information about this event.
I sat back and paused to think “ Why Facebook? Why Twitter? Why was I suddenly interested in the events in Egypt? It dawned on me that I was now conscious of my environment because I could readily get information on Twitter and Facebook; on my phone; on the move. Kudos to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg.
Who can imagine a world without Facebook and Twitter? It is estimated that Facebook has about 600 million users worldwide (Alexa.com ranking – 2nd) while Twitter has 190 million users (Alexa.com ranking - 9th)
Access to information has never been easier. And this access to information has created a truly knowledgeable world. A world that can be changed by one person and a phone with access to Facebook or Twitter. Enter Wael Ghonim. Wael, a 30 year old father of two, is Google’s head of Marketing in the Middle East and a very important cyberactivist. He used Facebook to organize a revolution (see “The Facebook Freedom Fighter” by Mike Giglio - http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/13/the-facebook-freedom-fighter.html)
Another Example is President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in September 2010. He announced his candidacy for presidential elections on his Facebook page. It surprised me that his campaign team thought of even getting a Facebook page for him or even recognizing that Facebook was a veritable source for meeting with the people. Now he communicates regularly with Nigerians in Nigeria and Diaspora via his Facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/jonathangoodluck. He currently has about 479,607 fans.
Other notable National heads include President Barack Obama with over 18 million fans (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama?ref=ts); the prime Minister of the United Kingdom - David Cameron (http://www.facebook.com/DavidCameron)
The Social Media has been recognized as powerful tools to cause social reformation and/or revolution. The simple reason is that it avails the user the ability to express himself/herself without reservation. It can be easily used to start a revolution without holding a physical rally. Now a tree can really make a forest. So let the wise realize the power.