Twitter was one of the dominate ways that information about the Arab Spring was relayed from person to person. In many of the countries involved, communication can be difficult, particularly in times of civil unrest. Twitter allowed people to reach a large audience, in real time, about what was happening where they were. This new ability to communicate not only instantly and globally, but to an incredibly large audience, was previously relegated to news agencies and other mass media conglomerates. Twitter revolutionized revolution, by giving anyone a global platform for their thoughts and ideas, and in doing so connected these otherwise disparate ethnic and nationalistic groups, into a support network that spanned around the globe.
During my interview with Tony, I asked him how he kept up with the uprisings as they were happening, and as expected, he said he relied mostly on Twitter. “Twitter is such a ubiquitous program now, that it’s easy to get information just moments after it happens. For me, that was vital as I was always keeping tabs on family and friends back in Lebanon. Phone calls and email exchanges are far less convenient than texts and tweets.” There is little doubt that Twitter gave those outside the conflict zones, unparalleled and unprecedented access to the revolutions of the Arab Spring.
Twitter became a focal point of the revolutionaries. A place to broadcast their victories, a place to spread outrage about their oppression, and a place to form a community of like-minded individuals. I would also argue that Twitter was useful in gaining the support of the West, countries like the USA who might not otherwise have given a high level of support to the revolutions. The usage of Twitter in the Arab Spring signaled a significant change in the way that information was spread from a conflict area, in much the same way that TV had done the same thing in Vietnam.