Here’s a fascinating story by my favorite reporter about the power–and the limits–of social media campaigns in Egypt.
Not much has changed since 2011, when mass demonstrations led to the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak. The West attributed the success to Facebook and Twitter campaigns, missing the broader picture–including the fact that only a third of Egyptians have access to the Internet. I devoted much of my book, Broken Spring, to explaining how and why the West got it wrong.
It could well be that the Twitterati triggered the uprising of 2011, but they’re not likely to trigger another one now, because strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is in firm control and still has considerable public support–or at the least, benefits from the apathy and public fatigue from four years of political and economic turmoil. As always, Nancy Youssef gives us the whole picture from street level.