From a Facebook Group to a Social Movement: The Trajectory of the April 6th Youth Movement and the Revolution in Egypt

July 10, 2012

Over the past few months, the research team behind the Youth, ICTs, and Democracy in Egypt project has collected and coded a series of Facebook posts, blogs, newspapers, and interviews with key actors to tease out the different roles social media played in the trajectory of the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt (A6YM). This is the first of a series of blog posts which will share the emerging findings as the analysis of the data collected through this diversity of sources progresses. The multiplicity of narratives in the sources represented in the data will help us portray a more nuanced landscape not only on the varieties and variability of uses and roles of social media, but also on the complexity of the socio-technological interactions/assemblages among different institutions, organizations, and individuals that are part of the contemporary political processes of social change.

Paper on the role of Facebook in the trajectory of the April 6th Youth Movement in Egypt accepted to AoIR 2012

July 3, 2012

To understand the role of social networking sites in social activism, this paper examines the April 6th youth movement’s Facebook presence and its evolution from a “Facebook group,” co-founded by two young Egyptians Ahmed Maher and Esraa Abdel Fattah, to a social movement mobilizing and coordinating protests on the street via skillful utilization of a “Facebook page” with technical features to gain the followers who would eventually take to the streets on January 25, 2011. To this end, we coded an archive of posts from the movement’s Facebook page and group in Arabic and the Facebook group in English from March 2008 through April 2011. This data set captures the movement’s Facebook activity from its inception to the consolidation of it as a mobilizing and organizing force garnering a broad level of support that crystalized in the first months of 2011.