How easy is it to kill the internet and Social Media in your country? This question has gained significant relevance in the last few days and I thought it timely that we should consider this subject. And more fundamentally can a Tweet cause a revolution, both questions are intimately inter-winded and must be considered by everyone, especially those who are in business
This question was asked by AlJazeera on the 21 January 2011… “What impact will Tunisia’s popular uprising have on neighbouring countries and could social media become the driving force for political reform in the Arab world?” Riz Khan talks to Sami Ben Gharbia, the co-founder of the Tunisian website Nawaat.org, Nasser Weddady, the outreach director at the American Islamic Congress, where he promotes civil rights through social media, and Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and activist who regularly reports on corruption.
Tunisa’s Government was brought to its knees via the internet and the use of Twitter, Youtube, Facebook etc to spread the message around the world within minutes. The users were all well educated tech savvy students, biz people and others who said enough is enough and knew how to use Social Media tools and platforms. Previously a civil war would have been required to topple a Government….just ponder that for a moment and consider how powerful a vocal voice is that can spread a message in a virtual world to create so much pressure within days, supported by street protests that causes a Government to collapse. Of course the pressure had been building for a long time, and suddenly we reached the zone of boiling.
Then next consider the events a few weeks later in Egypt and today we see a revolution happening on the streets with voices demanding change. Event the Police have been absence and the Army maintains a non threatening presence. In this case some different happened the Government obviously realising how the internet and Social Media quickly fueled that collapse in Tunisa that took a pre-emptive strike.
They turned the internet off and thus Social Media in a matter of mere minutes. No trenches to dig up, concrete walls to be built, barriers to place around the border. So you might use how did they do that, confiscate routers, servers, remove the power, put an axe thru a bunch of computers. in fact nothing as dramatic as that. And this is the scary part and why online users and anyone who uses the internet should never allow Governments to deny their population free speech.
They simply told (probably threatened) the three Eqyptian ISP’s (Internet Service providers) to change some settings on some configuration files on their master routers. In other words some one sat at a computer, made a few key strokes and mouse clicks and wammo the Internet died in Eqypt.
Gregg Keize over at Network Asia picks up the story in more detail…..
To sever its link with the outside digital world, Egypt “raised the drawbridge” in mere minutes by forcing the country’s providers to make simple changes to their routers, experts said on Friday.
“The major Egyptian networks stopped announcing what networks they represented to the rest of the world,” said Andree Toonk, the founder and lead developer of the open-source BGPmon, a tool for monitoring BGP, or “border gateway protocol,” the protocol at the core of the Internet’s routing mechanism.
The process likely took only minutes, and required simple changes to the country’s core router configuration files, Toonk said. Earlier Friday, Toonk noted that more than 90% of Egypt’s networks were unreachable because they had withdrawn their routing announcements.
Routers communicate with each other using BGP to establish pathways for digital traffic. By refusing to tell other networks how to reach their IP addresses, Egyptian Internet service providers (ISPs) effectively cut off all communication with the Web.
“You could call it a ‘kill switch,'” Toonk said.
Beginning Thursday and accelerating Friday, Egyptian networks began disappearing to observers outside the country. Although early reports said it wasn’t clear how the disconnect had been done, Toonk and others said today it was certainly by refusing to release BGP information to upstream providers and other networks on the Internet. article continues here
So whilst many in the Middle East have taken to bombs, suicide bombers, ambushes to gain change and the power of the US military and 1000’s of deaths, another group of citizens have grab the power of social media to achieve the same without them needing gun…simply a voice and a connection.
The message I hope you take from this post is that computer and Social Media savvy populations in two countries have used the power of video, words, and images to win. So if you live in the land of “everything is sweet” and never needed to worry about being shot on the way home or Government agents kidnapping you consider this. If you could harness the very same exact tools and apply them to your company activities, your brand and why your message is so special, think of the revolution you could create in your market.
This is my challenge to all readers of this post, If you are causing a revolution in your world we would love to hear from you and please tell us below in the comment section. If you want to create a revolution in your market we would love to work with you and to create an uprising.