Monday, April 18, 2011

The Web As a Spotlight: An Alternative Look at Technology in the Arab Spring

Since the spring of 2009, scholars and pundits alike have been debating the role technology has played the spate of uprisings across the Middle East and Africa. From Iran in 2009 to Egypt in early 2010 to the uprisings still taking place today, the web has clearly played a new and central role, in effect differentiating these revolutions from any that have come before. To date, most of this debate has focused on how important so-called social media services have been in organizing and carrying out these protests, with prominent minds on both sides of the argument. But while this debate continues to rage, I'd like to focus on a completely different aspect -- a feature that has been largely ignored. I'd like to look at the web as a metaphorical spotlight, casting attention on people and parts of the world all too easily overlooked before.

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