The Impact and Contribution of Social Media on The Arab Uprising

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The Impact and Contribution of Social Media on The Arab Uprising

Category: Communication

Subcategory: Design

Level: Masters

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

The Impact and Contribution of Social Media on the Arab Uprising

In the year 2011, the whole world stared and watched the events that were taking place in North Africa and the Middle East, and they felt inspired. Everyone marveled at the power that is digital technology, and the bravery and courage of the people who inspired the Arab spring. The events that took place at that time sparked the debate on what role social media and the new technology played (Associates, A. 2018).

What research question(s) are you attempting to answer in your Thesis? Give as detailed an outline as possible at this stage, including any hypotheses you wish to test.

This research paper will be trying to find out the role that social media played in the Arab Uprising, and the impacts it had. What makes this an interesting topic of study is that we are currently living in a world of technology with new advancements being made every day. These advancements and innovations make our lives better in one way or another. This research paper will be trying to find out the role that social media played in the Arab Uprising, and the impacts it had. What makes this an interesting topic of study is that we are currently living in a world of technology with new advancements being made every day. These advancements and innovations make our lives better in one way or another. Therefore, the research question will be; How did social media contribute to the Arab Uprising?
Please give a brief (but fully referenced) summary of the main secondary sources you have used in your preliminary research on this topic, and also mention sources of data you intend to use
After the Arab uprisings had started, many debates began on the role and impact of social media. During this time, the media focused majorly on the young protesters who were on the streets with their smartphones in their hands mobilizing the streets in political opposition. People deemed this as the Twitter or Facebook revolutions (Dewey, T., Kaden, J., Marks, M., Matsushima, S. and Zhu, B. 2012) From that time, the unrest that has been witnessed in Syria drew a lot of attention on the role of citizen journalism. According to Brow, Guskin and Mitchell (2018), social media played a significant role in the Arab uprisings. Networks that had been created online were key in organizing the main group of activists especially those from Egypt.
Leaders of the civil society in these Arab countries emphasized that mobile phones, the internet and social media played a significant role in the protests that were witnessed (Beaumont, P.2011). Research has been conducted in the recent past to try and re-examine in details the role played by social media in these uprisings (O’Donnell, C.,2011). In the year 2012, the U.S Institute of Peace published a report on the content analysis of the links that were used in the uprising. These short URLs are used largely used in social media platforms such as Facebook. The social unrest started on December 17, 2010, in Tunisia and it spread to other nations in North Africa and across the Middle East. They were most noticeable in Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Jordan. In most of these countries, demonstrations turned into revolutions that overthrew the existing autocratic governments (Gire, S.2015). According to Gire, S., (2015), social media played a major role in intensifying the revolution flames once they had been lit. Governments were not able to censor any of their activities, which allowed the protestors to plans and execute their protests successfully. These uprisings were meant to display the evils that went on in the respective countries in matters democracy and leadership (Khondker, H.H. 2011, 678)
Howard, P.N et al. (2011) suggests that the role of social media in this uprising cannot be ignored. However, social media was not the cause of the Arab uprising, but an important tool in influencing the way the uprising took place (Cambie, S., & Ooi, Y.-M.,2009). According to her, the internet helped Tunisia in boosting the revolts since it is a country that is known for mainstream media oppression. In Tunisia, and media or news site that portrayed the injustices by the government were blocked immediately. Bouazizi is the Tunisian man who triggered the revolution. According to Abouzeid, (2018). Bouazizi is one of the young educated men who were educated, but most of their time was spent loitering. He was a vegetable seller and was once harassed by a police woman that cause him to set himself ablaze. This resulted in the Tunisian revolution and he is recognized as the man who bought down the Tunisian dictator. The country was vulnerable under the regime of Ben Ali. The media was controlled and opposition was not tolerated. Most social media sites had been blocked except Facebook. Abouzeid agrees that social media played a major role in the Arab Spring uprisings, but echoes that it was also used as a tool to gather more support for the cause. Hamad, I. T. A., & Bhuiyan, S. (2015) notes that due to the high number of people using social medias in North Africa and in the Middle East, blocking those sites would have caused more harm than good, and more discontent among the protestors.
What conceptual / theoretical frameworks will you draw on, and which methods do you propose to use to research the topic you have chosen?
This study will be trying to find out the contribution and significance of social media on the Arab uprising. It will also try to answer the question of whether social media led to the uprising or whether it was just a medium that was used to support the revolution. In this study, qualitative method will be used as it will give a clear understanding of the different social life aspects. Qualitative method will aid in the collection of information on the influence of digital media in the distribution of political revolution information. Different sources have different information regarding the Arab uprising. Some note that the use of social media involved taking a huge risk while others feel social media was not accountable for the revolution since the activists hid behind the keyboard. For this study, qualitative research will give a framework to analyze and examine the matter in a deeper and clear manner. The social exchange theory will help us understand what role social media played in contributing to the Arab uprising. This is one theory that will be used in this research.
Please give a brief chapter-by-chapter outline of the proposed content of your thesis, indicating how your data and your argument will connect to produce a coherent overall structure.
Chapter one of the research will be on
the introduction,
background of the problem,
statement of the problem,
the purpose of the study,
the research questions,
the significance of the study,
definition of terms,
limitations and delimitations,
a conclusion.
Chapter two will be the literature review section, and it will consist of
an introduction,
search description,
conceptual or theoretical framework, and
a review of the research.
The third chapter will be on a methodology which will be qualitative. It will have;
an introduction,
research design,
research questions and hypotheses,
setting and sample,
data collection,
data analysis,
a conclusion.
Chapter four will be on the findings, and it will have
an introduction,
and a conclusion.
The last chapter number five will be on
discussions, and suggestions for future research.
It will consist of an introduction, summary of findings, conclusions, discussions, suggestions for future research and a conclusion.
What is your proposed timescale for completion of the work? Please indicate as detailed a timetable as possible, including all stages of the reading and fieldwork, revision, and final word-processing, checking and binding. Gantt chart
The table below gives the timeline in which this project is expected to be finished.
Task Start Day Completion Day Period (days)
Literature Review 23/1/2018 4/2/2018 14 days
Recruit Research Team 4/2/2018 9/2/2018 Five days
Train researchers 10/12/2018 17/2/201 Seven days
Select Site 18/2/2018 22/2/2018 Four days
Develop Surveys and Interviews 23/2/2018 1/3/2018 Seven days
Data Collection 4/3/2018 25/03/2018 21 days
Data Analysis 26/03/2018 16/04/2018 21 days
Project Monitoring 17/04/2018 7/05/2018 21days
Compiling and Editing 22/05/2018 29/05/2018 Seven days
Printing 30/05/2018 1/06/2018 Two days
Dissemination 3/ 06/ 2018 10/06/2018 7 days
Final Proposal Submission. 11/06/2018 13/06/2018 2 days
Are you intending to share the data-gathering with another researcher? YES/NO If so, please indicate his or her name. NB Your Thesis may be based on shared data, but the analysis and conclusions must be your own work.
I do not intend to share gathered data with another researcher. I want to conduct the research alone but will use other sources to back up my findings.
Bibliography: Please list below full bibliographical details of at least six sources that you have used in preparing this proposal. You should include articles, books and websites where appropriate.
Reference List
Associates, A. (2018). The Arab Spring and the impact of social media. [online] Albany Notebook. Available at:, H., Guskin, E., and Mitchell, A. (2018). The Role of Social Media in the Arab Uprisings. [online] Pew Research Centre’s Journalism Project. Available at:, P.,2011. ‘The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world,’ The Guardian [online],, S., & Ooi, Y.-M.,2009. International Communications Strategy Developments in Cross-Cultural Communications, PR, and Social Media. London, Kogan Page
Dewey, T., Kaden, J., Marks, M., Matsushima, S. and Zhu, B., 2012. The impact of social media on social unrest in the Arab Spring. International Policy Program, 5.
Gire, S.,2015. The Impact and Contribution of Social Media in the Arab Spring. The Pangaea Journal: Global Connections: Student Views on Globalization. Source, I. T. A., & Bhuiyan, S,.2015. The use of social media as a communication tool by international development organizations: a case study of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Egypt.
Howard, P.N., Duffy, A., Freelon, D., Hussain, M., Mari, W. & Mazaid, M.,2011. ‘Opening Closed Regimes: What Was the Role of Social Media During the Arab Spring?’ ICTlogy,,
Khondker, H.H., 2011. Role of the new media in the Arab Spring. Globalizations, 8(5), pp.675-679.
O’Donnell, C.,2011 ‘New study quantifies use of social media in Arab Spring,’ UW Today [online], (2018). Bouazizi: The Man Who Set Himself and Tunisia on Fire. [online] Available at:

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