The Egyptian Revolution has brought to the forefront the role of social media in the modern world. Debate continues over the role websites such as Facebook and Twitter played in the movement in Egypt; however to what extent these websites played a role in the revolution is not important. What is important is that they were part of it at all.
The role of Facebook and Twitter is unquestionable. It is well documented that Facebook, under the guidance of Wael Ghonim, was used to galvanise support and ‘market’ the movement to the young, affluent, web-savvy population of Egypt. Similarly, Twitter was used to update protestors as to whereabouts, movements and strategies in their battle against pro-Mubarak groups, the police and others. Both were a part of the Revolution but not the whole. The success of the movement was only made possible by the thousands camping and protesting on the streets.
As observers it was extremely interesting to watch how two American websites had a) become so much part of daily life for Egyptians and b) a hands-on role in a major political turning point not witnessed in the region since 1979. The prediction was made many years ago that the World Wide Web would slowly become a platform for multilingual, cross-cultural interaction. Whether it was for business, information or anything else the potential to gain an international audience has never been so easy. With English becoming the international language of choice, websites waking up to the fact that a simple translation can bring in thousands more readers and businesses spotting opportunities it was only a matter of time that something as amazing as the ‘Revolution 2.0’ occurred.
This has shown the world that truly amazing things can happen through the internet as long as it can be utilised by everyone. Twitter seem to have been galvanised by this thought and have now announced their plans to the launch the Twitter Translation Centre. The aim to tap into the language skills of the more than 190 million users in order to add Russian, Turkish, Portuguese and Indonesian to its expanding repertoire of translation options.
The message is simple – the internet is here to stay. It’s global. Its potential is massive. Any organisation or business now has to take it seriously and invest in it to maximise their potential on the global stage.