Academic journal article Global Media Journal

The Effect of Browsing Social Networking Websites: The Effect of Browsing You Tube on the Attitude of Egyptians towards Those Who Have Different Political Views

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

The Effect of Browsing Social Networking Websites: The Effect of Browsing You Tube on the Attitude of Egyptians towards Those Who Have Different Political Views

Article excerpt

Introduction

In an age where social networking websites have become a new compelling force for political changes and movements McGarty, Thomas, Smith, Lala, Bliuc, ) 2013), The Egyptian revolution of the 25th of January 2011 came as a changing point in the Egyptian political life. The 25th of January revolution reshaped the definitions of the Egyptian social, political and economic life with resounding effects that extended regionally and internationally.

Many opinions evolved around the role of social networking websites in the Egyptian revolution. Some opinions glorified such role and considered it to be an essential factor in the revolution's success, regarding it as a means of communication for societal change by providing its users with the opportunity to participate in politics away from the traditional media which was limited to official authorities and sources (Kamel, 2014). Such opinions further argued that social media acted as tool for rallying the Egyptians and covering the events of the revolution , as well as paved the way for political changes in the structure of the Egyptian state which culminated in the breakout of the 25th of January revolution (González-Bailón et al., 2013). Other people believe that social networking websites neither created nor incited the revolution. Those people argue that such websites are organizational and communication tools (Barrons, 2012 ( , rather than effective means in creating democracy. Meanwhile in case of the people of third world countries, the ability of social networking websites to create real democracy even in the virtual world is exaggerated as the people themselves neither determined the meaning of democracy nor agreed upon the mechanisms of its practice. Therefore the people of third world countries use social networking websites to liberate themselves from all the restrictions imposed on publishing news and information, which consequently stirs up conflicts, doubts, lack of trust between citizens, fanaticism and complete rejection of others, all of which ultimately conflicts with the idea of democracy.

This is evident in the fact that the breakout of the 30th of June, 2013 protests and subsequent events resulted in the division of the Egyptian society on the social, economical and cultural levels. Such division was reflected in the fact that every group used social networking websites to insult and ridicule opposing groups. By observing the opinions of researchers regarding the impact of social networking websites on the practice of democracy, we find several opinions that perceive the selective nature of published news on such websites to actually enhance polarization, or what Sunstein (2007) calls "Echoi Chamber" and is described by (Pariser, 2011) as "Filter Bubble". Both researches point out that such websites totally isolate their users from opposing points of view so as to continue propagating similar ideas. Social networking users are more inclined to form politically homogeneous groups that pass out the same ideas and advocate fanaticism in a way that enhances political division around various public issues. This also works on advocating a hypothetical overflow of opinions that are sometimes fanatic and even false. Therefore Dahlberg (2001) had reservations about the idea of e-democracy, where he emphasized that the precise scientific examination of the nature of political communication on the internet shows that it is not qualified to create democracy at the present moment and that it only reflects the fragmented and divided nature of contemporary societies. YouTube is currently considered to be one of the most important social networking websites on the internet. YouTube managed to create a specific revolution in the communication content and transformed media users into media producers. Statistics indicate that YouTube has over one billion visitors per month with more than 6 billion videos1.Such numbers have caught the attention of researches regarding the impact of the selective browsing of YouTube videos on the political inclinations of its users and both the extent by which users watch videos that conflict with their inclination and the degree to which they believe such videos. …

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