The role of social media doesn’t stop at Tahrir

We have heard again and again about the way in which social media propelled – or at least accelerated – the Egyptian revolution.

Social media can be used to collect ideas from people on how to move forward. Credit: Flickr/Asthma Helper

But what is less well recognised is the transformative role it can continue to have in shaping a new democracy, according to Adel El Zaim, of the Information and Networks Programme at the International Development Research Centre, Canada.

Following Tahrir, which means ‘liberation’ and is the name of Cairo’s central square, comes ‘Taamir’, which means ‘to build’.

Social media such as Facebook could be powerful in the new phase of building good governance. It could help to build a transparent society and fight corruption, he said.

People want to participate in the rebuilding of society, but they lack an opportunity to do so.

Social media can be used to collect ideas from the people on how to move forward. It provides a huge potential for a communication channel between citizens and the government, he added.

It also provides a channel through which government can share data with the public.

“If they open up their data, it will give less room for corruption,” he said, adding that it also offers business opportunities.

Social media should also be harnessed to do intensive research after the revolution.

“We need to do research about changes, their impacts, how to build society, and so on,” said El Zaim.

Pratchaya W., SciDev.Net contributor

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