Revisiting Cyberactivism Six Years after the Arab Spring: Potentials, Limitations and Future Prospects
Social media played a crucial role in the instigation and orchestration of the sweeping wave of political change that spread across the Arab world in 2011, which came to be known as the “Arab Awakening” or the “Arab Spring.” In this chapter, I revisit the role played by social media in aiding political transformation, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “cyberactivism,” 4 years after the eruption of the Arab Spring. I argue that social media platforms initially played a vital role in paving the road for sociopolitical transformation in the Arab world, by providing the opportunity for exchange of ideas and the formulation of collective public opinion, as well as the documentation of significant events. Thus, it encouraged civic engagement and public participation on one hand, while providing platforms for citizen journalism on the other. However, I also analyze the complex multiple factors which limited the effectiveness of social media’s contribution to the sociopolitical scene in the Arab world today.
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