The way of the future is that governments will be more fearful of social media’s power than that of the tabloids (if they aren’t already). Mr. Albaih, through different prompts and questions, explained how social media was revolutionary for people like him in the Arab world during a time of such isolation. He compared social media to the revolutionary pamphlets that were used in New England during the revolutionary war, and he explained how the internet was the only place people could find refuge from the propaganda surrounding them. The internet was the only door that the government had left open to individuals like Mr. Albaih, and as he said himself, they simply had no idea what they had done.
One of the points that I found most interesting was when Mr. Albaih highlighted the privilege and comfort he has found at Colby that was so unlike anything he really knew during the revolutionary times in Sudan and throughout the Arab world. It’s important to recognize that media and social media is very different for a privileged community like Colby’s, and even the United States as a whole for the most part. In relatively comfortable and safe communities like this, Mr. Albaih pointed out how individuals don’t have to take risks like people he knew and followed did. Revolutions come from not only a group of individuals coming together to stand up against something they want to see changed, but also from desperate anger and need for change. In the United States, and as we have even seen at Colby, people riot for a week or two but that’s all they can really afford to do before they have to go back to classes and real life. Yet despite these key differences in the types of information that social media is used to convey, I think it’s important to remember how powerful of a tool this is to communicate and convey messages to individuals who they may not have reached otherwise. Furthermore, individuals today seem to find the information on social media platforms to be much more valid than mainstream tabloids. I, personally, would be much more likely to believe an article I read from my Facebook newsfeed compared to something similar printed in a magazine.
Is it an issue, however, that stories and messages on the internet will go viral but then be yesterday’s news? Is there simply too much information out there? What does it mean if you’re instantly forgotten? Mr. Albaih raised a few of these questions, and it’s important to consider the drawbacks of something that has to potential to be so powerful. Social media and the internet, as we heard from Mr. Albaih and seen to a certain degree in our own everyday lives, has an incomparable ability to spread a message to millions of people very quickly. This can create results in many environments, but the revolutionary power of the internet and media is something that only has results in certain circumstances.