As social media becomes more important in revolutions, it is natural that young people (the people who most frequently use social media) are the revolutionaries. We can draw parallels today about social media use in the revolution of the Arab Spring and what we could call the “Bernie Revolution.” As one may expect, these are very different events, so the uses and reasons for use of social media will be very different, but both revolutions use social media to spread their messages and are mostly conducted with young people as the revolutionaries.
Social media was vital in the Arab Spring. It was difficult to find a place for people living through the Arab Spring to talk openly until the internet came about. The internet opened many doors, the government didn’t realize the freedom they were giving the people that they governed and they assumed that the internet would never be utilized in the way that it has been. The government pushed newspapers to not publish any negative press and proceeded to bombard the public with propaganda. When social media came about, the people who had once been suppressed were able to easily communicate with each other on popular social media platforms and start a revolution.
We can see social media as being important in the “Bernie Revolution” as well. While Trump dominated the media, the other candidates were left struggling to find air time. Bernie supporters and Bernie himself took to the social media to portray ideas and his platform. This type of campaigning was likely part of the reason that Bernie has such a young support group. It is important to acknowledge that the “Bernie Revolution” was very different than the Arab Spring before we highlight any further similarities between the two revolutions. These two situations are very different for two main reasons, the differences in privileges and rights in the two places that these revolutions are occurring. Americans don’t need to be thinking radically in the same way as those people who lived through the Arab Spring because they do not have the same type of ceiling (regarding rights and what they can and can’t do) as other countries around the world.
Another similarity between these two revolutions is the age of the revolutionists. In both revolutions it seems to be the younger people looking for change, likely because they will have to live with the government decisions for the longest amount of time, as well as because they are on social media and can share ideas and opinions on the revolutions occurring around them. Once again, important differences need to be mentioned. In America, young people flocked to Facebook and Twitter to post their opinions on Bernie and to read what others had to say and to find Bernie’s own opinion pieces. During the Arab Spring, recent college graduates demonstrated their anger by setting themselves on fire, which would later be posted on social media as a protest.
In conclusion, we can see that current revolutions are driven by social media, and by what would seem to be a consequence, young people.