|Massive tweeting coming from Bahrain on February 6th 2013.|
- Level of engagement, are enough people involved?
- Level of social network among members, are the people working together?
- Level of identity formation of members, do the people really see this as their cause?
I base these conclusions on this social media trends:
Since that time protests in Bahrain have lost much of the international attention, in part because of a crack down and in part because of a global disillusionment with the Arab Spring as an event. But this does not mean that social media has become unengaged in Bahrain. Which has not happened.
Daily mass protests in #Bahrain with mass crowdstwitter.com/AlWefaqEN/stat…
— Abu Saber ✌ (@Moawen) February 5, 2013
My conclusion is, from continued study of the social media content, is that despite extensive repression by the state, including the symbolic destruction of Lulu square, and the intervention of major outside players trying to support the monarchy, like Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, that the network of people engaging in reform has if anything expanded and become more locally effective.
RT @m_alshaikh: #EPA - A joint press conference for the six-leading opposition groups in Manama, #Bahrain 04-02-2013 twitpic.com/c0xwluMy principle tool of research has been twitter and Facebook. I have joined a number of Facebook groups on Bahrain and for over a year now have been watching their activity. I have noticed these trends:
— Mazen Mahdi (@MazenMahdi) February 4, 2013
- A movement of the issue from International to local.
- Continuing high presence of protests.
- A growing diminishing of support for the regime on social media.
|There is still a massive churn of discussion on Twitter about #Bahrian Tweets contain a vast number of political posts, and many profiles show strong alliances to reform or the Regime.|
#humanrights #Bahrain: Widespread Suppression, Scant Reforms - Stop Prosecuting Human Rights Defenders... dlvr.it/2vJrJQ #Egitto3000
— Mohamed Allam (@Egitto3000) February 5, 2013
|Alwafaq News from Bahrain posts information on protest, a very popular Facebook page it rarely posts in English.|
What I think is happening is that social media is now supporting the face to face. This is interesting idea. Normally we assume that social media is destroying the strength of face to face community, but in many cases it may be the other way around. A local community or movement like Occupy may come back as a surprising social community after existing for a time online, as when OccupyWallStreet became OccupySandy.
In Bahrain it seems that social media is still a key part in supporting a mostly local effort at reform.
|Social Media contains so much evidence of a mass movement taking place in Bahrain it is hard to understand the lack of coverage in many media|
This tool will enable you to track tweets and retweets originating from Manama Bahrain. Even in translation it is striking how much discussion is about politics.