Internet

Exum makes two obvious points. That "the Internet, Facebook and Twitter played a terribly important role in mobilizing the Egyptians who filled the streets of Egypt to protest the regime" and that it "took ACTUAL BODIES out there in the streets and not 'Facebook Revolutionaries' just re-tweeting the struggle from the comfort of their homes." A more insightful observation: 

One interesting piece of analysis I have now heard from several smart observers is that by shutting down the Internet and the cellular phone networks, the Egyptian regime actually *increased* the number of Egyptians on the streets protesting. Not only did shutting down the Internet force people to leave the house and physically connect with their fellow protesters, but one friend noted that if you really want to piss off all of Egypt, a good way to do so is by shutting off cell phone service. More than Facebook or Twitter, cellular phone service unites Egyptians in a virtual community. And by shutting down cellular phone service, you're sure to anger Egyptians of all generations and classes -- and not just the college kids with Facebook accounts. So score one for the enduring power of 20th Century technology, perhaps.

(Tweet from the Arabist)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.