The role of technology and social media in strengthening resistance movements: A comparative analysis of the revolutions inIran and Egypt, 2009-2011

This paper examines the impact of technology on the democratic uprisings in Iran in mid 2009 and in Egypt in early 2011. This paper argues that the lower level of online censorship in Egypt facilitated the success of Egypt’s opposition movement, whereas the more extreme digital barriers in Iran led to the failure of Iran’s protest group. Three major elements of each uprising will be analyzed and contrasted – the motivations behind each movement, the formation of mass protests and the regime response, and technological trigger points during the protests that had tremendous impacts on the outcome of each uprising. Future research concerning the relationship between technology and democratization should focus on the specific technological tools used by protestors and the level of preexisting freedoms in each country. While technological innovation is not the sole necessity for fighting corrupt and repressive regimes, it certainly aids those seeking to enact change.
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