Monday 23 May 2022 | 21:23 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 May 2022 | 21:23 | SYDNEY

The medium is the message


Andrew Carr


19 July 2011 12:15

From a recent Slate piece on the role of the internet in the Arab Spring:

 I thought Arab bloggers began with grievances and turned to the Internet to address them. But sometimes, apparently, it's the other way around. Al Omran said he started blogging just to practice his English. Once online, he met bloggers outside Saudi Arabia, learned about politics, and developed an interest in human rights. He said the same thing has happened to other bloggers in the region. Merlyna Lim, a scholar of social transformation at Arizona State University, described a similar dynamic in Egypt: Young people went online to keep up with their friends and youth culture. In doing so, they became politicized.

We hardly think about it these days, but the sense of freedom to explore new issues or thoughts online is intoxicating. After which, an authority telling you what you can watch, say or wear seems absurd.

I don't attribute the Arab Spring to the internet, but the net is having a cultural effect that, in time, will compel societies to offer greater choice to their citizens.

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