Egypt, Culture and Facebook

Isn’t it interesting that people in a Facebook group encouraged demonstrations in Egypt? I mean, who would have thought of that 10 years ago?

Lately I have heard talks of a new “culture” being formed, a virtual culture that encompasses any nationality. A new way of communicating virtually that is not linked to a national culture. I think this is true; an example is the “sms language”, which is widespread wherever you have a young person with a mobile! And Facebook connects people across countries and regions, where the “Facebookians” share their lives, festivities and traditions. We connect in a way that the world has never seen before.

A Norwegian social anthropologist, Unni Wikan, described the Egyptians as a people with lots of humour and lots of patience. Clearly their patience has run out.

Several Egyptians motivated the mobilization by using a new online tool. It seems that they want a new speed too. Business and government negotiation is known to be slow in Egypt, but with the current demonstrations, the people want action NOW. Is that the young generation influencing or is the patience that has run out? Probably both.

Considering the cultural codes, there are some interesting things happening; despite being a society with a distinct class system, they now all meet on the same arena for the same cause. And students participate too, a group that has shunned politics so far. People are talking about “real democracy”.

Many Egyptians are showing enormous courage right now. Additionally, they are not feeling safe nor do they have normal access to supplies. Being there must be stressful, yet it is a time of hope for the majority that wants a change. From the outside it is exciting to see all that is going on; from a political, cultural and generational angle.

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Reader's Comments »

  1. By marlies erdman on février 9, 2011 at 9:45

    Hi, great observation. Did you know that a news agency « RNI » was formed on Facebook covering the events in Egypt? Within a week that news agency had 275 million hits…..Talking about speed and magnitude.