The Effect of Social Networks Sites (SNSs) on the Egyptian 25/30 Uprisings

The Effect of Social Networks Sites (SNSs) on the Egyptian 25/30 Uprisings

Rasha Hussein Abdel Aziz Mostafa (Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt) and Samaa Taher Attia (British University in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2015040104
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of social networking sites' (SNSs) characteristics on Egyptians' perception and attitude towards the 25/30 uprisings, also known as the “Arab Spring”. Data were obtained from 422 Egyptian university students using SNS by means of questionnaire. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was conducted to test the research hypotheses. The study results indicate that SNSs' characteristics positively influence the Egyptian protesters' perceptions, particularly regarding unity. Such unity affected the protesters' attitudes, which in turn resulted in the uprisings. To further generalize the research model, it is recommended to be examined in other Arab Spring contexts. Nevertheless, this empirical and quantitative testing of the relationships between SNSs characteristics, perception, attitude and uprising is a newly introduced model on which scarce empirical research exists. Therefore, this study diminishes the paucity of information on the role of SNS in shaping the Egyptian protesters perceptions and attitudes during the “Arab Spring”.
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Literature Review

The waves of demonstrations that expanded across a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during 2011 were mainly calling for freedom, democratic reforms, lower unemployment figures, respect for human rights, and social justice. Such revolutions and social movements would have not been recognized globally without the use of social networking sites (SNSs) and social media.

Boyd and Ellison (2008, p.210) defined SNS such as Facebook and Twitter as “web-based services that allow individuals to a) create a public profile within a bounded system; b) accumulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection; and c) view and use their list of connections and the lists made by others within the site”. Meanwhile, Evans (2008) and Benmamoun et al., (2012) highlighted the participative features of SNS that allow users to share and generate content in terms of texts, photos and videos, to stay connected with friends and family, to advertise and to be present online. Consistent with Benmamoum, Sa’nchez-Fanco et al. (2012) added that beside SNS’s participative feature, they encourage mutually beneficial relationships and feelings of belongingness among users. Preece and Maloney-Krichmar (2005, cf. Kasavana et al., 2010, p.69) defined SNS users as “people who come together for a particular purpose, and who are guided by policies [. . .], and supported by software”. Further, White et al. (2009) (cf. Mansour, 2012, p.130) defined SNS as “any web-based application allowing individuals to connect, communicate, and collaborate with one another”.

There are many types of SNS. Lenard (2004) identified five common types as follows: 1) General. SNSs that allow meeting, socializing and sharing content with friends (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). 2) Practice. SNSs where professionals and practitioners can contact and exchange ideas (e.g. Linkedln). 3) Interest. SNSs where people who share the same interest as music, politics, or sports can meet and socialize (e.g. “political discussion group”). 4) Affinity. SNSs that people who share similar demographic characteristics or affiliations to a certain geographic area can join, such as women or Arab Americans. Finally, 5) Sponsored. SNS developed by government or non-for-profit organizations (e.g. Nike, IBM).

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