Social media, social movements and the diffusion of ideas in the Arab uprisings
This article studies the 2011 Arab uprisings as social movements for political reform and regime change. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, are perceived to be playing a central role in these events, which have even been described as 'Facebook' and 'Twitter revolutions'. Using diffusion theory, this article examines the role of social media and the extent to which they can be credited for the emergence and achievement of the goals of the uprisings. It argues that while social media played important facilitation roles in terms of inter and intra-group communication as well as information dissemination, mainstream mass media are still highly relevant to the process. However, the success or failure of the uprisings largely depends on domestic factors and broader geopolitical contexts. This article demonstrates that the use of social media in the Arab uprisings has significant implications for diffusion theory in terms of contact and identity among the social movements involved.
Journal of International Communication