Time’s Man of the Year.  Now the new Moses?  The guy who’s invisible connectivity community helped bring down the Pharaoh of Egypt.  Mark Zuckerberg getting credit for Egypt’s revolution?   We were stunned last night as we watched Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer interview the de facto leader of Egypt’s revolution, the “Google Ganhdi,” Wael Ghonim.

During the course of the interview Wolf Blitzer asked Ghonim where the next revolution would take place.  He answered, “Ask Facebook.”

Isn’t the leader of a revolution in a Muslim nation supposed to answer,  “Ask God?”  In Tahrir Square square you could hear chants,   “Muslim, Christian, doesn’t matter; We’re all in this boat together!” Didn’t Obama give a speech about this in Cairo in June 2009?   This isn’t your father’s Islamic revolution,  our friends.

You can watch the entire interview with the Google Ghandi  in the video below.  Here is the relevant excerpt from the transcript,

BLITZER: Wael, this is Wolf Blitzer in Washington. So first Tunisia, now Egypt. What’s next?
GHONIM: Ask Facebook.
BLITZER: Ask what?
GHONIM: Facebook.
COOPER: Facebook.
BLITZER: Facebook. You’re giving Facebook a lot of credit for this?
GHONIM: Yes, for sure. I want to meet Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him, actually. This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook.
You know, I always said that if you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet. If you want to have a free society, give them the Internet.

The one meme of the Global Macro Monitor is “transformative tech” and it is now transforming the map of the Mid-East just as it did in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election.

Lookout!

Next up, Algeria?

Category: War/Defense, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

33 Responses to “Is Mark Zuckerberg a Modern Day Moses?”

  1. SINGER says:

    Now if the Muslims and Jews can stop wanting to kill each other, then I will believe in transformative tech… This was a good start though… Also, they were coming from a pretty low threshold. I’m waiting for this to make America a better place….

  2. Nothing against Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook… Social Media really is key! And he and his team have created a true phenomenon!

    The revolution in ICT we’ve been going through is intimately connected to ‘social’ revolutions of all sorts which may be coming at a fast pace. But that’s the point; its the Tech which is coming in many forms and many ways… and via a number of platforms rather than any particular individual leader or even any single technology. Whether its Facebook, Twitter or live video streamed across the world via a $50 cell phone…

    IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE!

    Finding Roots in a Shifting Landscape: Facebook and the Future of Social Networks
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2011/01/finding-roots-in-shifting-landscape.html

  3. J Kraus says:

    I guess it’s not too far-fetched. Moses had Tablets; fast-forward to the 21st Century and Facebook users have iPads.

  4. obsvr-1 says:

    oh pleaseee !! And the fruit vendor in Tunisia is the “Burning Bush”

  5. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    It makes no difference how much electronic connectivity people have if they won’t flood the public square. The internets tubes weren’t responsible for the Egyptian revolution — thousands of protesters who would not take “no” for an answer were. How many of those people had iPads or wireless connectivity? How many stayed at home and Facebooked about it instead of showing up?

    Can’t see us doing that. Ever.

  6. V says:

    After watched this doco on Al-Jazeera I think the internet played a part, but it looked like most of the real work got done via good old fashion word of mouth and people on the streets.
    Western media as usual gets carried away once it has latched onto a meme, that is simply how they operate.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/peopleandpower/2011/02/201128145549829916.html

  7. so what was eastern Europe all about? Twern’t no facebook back then. At some point people get hungry, they hear the stories of what life is like in a pseudo capitalist country and they stand and demand

  8. b_thunder says:

    this “marketing exec” clearly marketing himself to FB. think all those FB stock options! Google is no longer place for 7- and 8-figure stock grants.

    and he’s got at most a few months, because nobody knows what will happen in Egypt: theocracy? military dictatorship? anarchy? a civil democracy is only one (and IMHO unlikely) outcome.

  9. DeDude says:

    Facebook was an important tool and one critical link in the chain that helped this process from one end to the other. What Facebook and other internet tools do is to allow people to communicate, and information to flow, around the officially controlled channels. TBP is a good example in itself when it comes to economic information. Lots of stuff that I have seen here and would not have known if I had been relying only on old fashioned corporate media to inform me.

    What happened in Egypt is like the financial crisis there are lots of “if not for X this would not have happened”. But in our 30 second newsbite culture the corporate media may chop the complicated truth down to a simple “Facebook Revolution”. Wouldn’t want things to get so complicated or long that we lost even 10% of the viewers.

  10. Patrick Neid says:

    Facebook and Twitter were definitely the organizing tools of the nameless leaders who used YouTube as their major video link. From day one, starting with that young girl’s video the revolution went viral centered around everyone who had an internet connection in various neighborhoods. Folks who have read any number of Egyptian bloggers before and during the protests knew exactly where and when the next gatherings would be.

    That was the group Wael was part of. It is no coincidence countries that restrict freedoms also restrict the internet as they do the printed word.

  11. Patrick Neid says:

    Mary Meeker’s presentation that puts it all in perspective.

    http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/kpcb-top-10-mobile-trends-feb-2011

  12. constantnormal says:

    When will the Bananamericans be freed from their shackles of expensive and oppressive goobermint?

    Facebook (social media) may be a necessary tool, but it is not a sufficient one.

  13. mathman says:

    If Americans weren’t so lazy, illiterate, individualistic and distracted they’d have a chance at getting their democracy back. Instead, they’ll go along with the powers that be until they can’t (by which time it will be too late to do anything about any of it).

  14. bocon007 says:

    Strange: Zuckerberg given so much credit for the Egypt uprising and apparently the honorable way the Egyptian people carried themselves through the entire ordeal, thus far.

    Everything I know about Zuckerberg from what I have read about him and the few interviews I have seen where he discusses Facebook gives me the impression of a largly amoral young man who is less interested in contemplating the societal impact of his creation (good or bad) and more enthusiastic about celebrating its wild popularity.

  15. call me ahab says:

    Patrick Neid-

    thanks for the link . . .interesting stuff

  16. ira says:

    facebook as moses ? it’s more like the ten plagues

  17. Moss says:

    Funny how the Wall Street crowd is only accessing the impact of Social Media in terms of corporate winners and losses. Clearly the impact of the technology transcends any market value or EPS estimates and goes beyond product marketing opportunities. A dictator was overthrown and not one CIA agent was involved. The democratization of information on a global scale which has turned the status quo of a region not a company or their competitors upside down.

  18. investorinpa says:

    Certainly Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube played a big part in surging this movement forward. They are the new weapons of the masses, a way to communicate and organize large masses in a way that nobody, not even governments, expected. Giving it all to FB without recognizing Twitter, YouTube, and others is a bit simplistic.

  19. beaufou says:

    Frank Rich put things in perspective a little while ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/opinion/06rich.html?ref=frankrich
    “Among other mischievous facts, he reports that there were only 19,235 registered Twitter accounts in Iran (0.027 percent of the population) on the eve of what many American pundits rebranded its “Twitter Revolution.””

    Blown out of proportion.

  20. vipasyana says:

    I can believe the “social media” playing a significant supportive role part of any movement when: email, facebook, twitter, google and the web can transform “Wael Ghonims” of the West (Mr. Ritholtz, Dylan, Max Kaiser)…to gather 10 million people around the world — in all major metro cities — against the Ben B and the ponzi central bankers of the world…who are stuck in their delusion that GDP growth at any cost leads to a more peaceful/better society.

    It is all inside; sure having more faster means to communicate helps.

  21. call me ahab says:

    from the Frank Rich link-

    “People are not able to feed their families.” . . . “What’s important is “why they were driven to do it in the first place — starting with the issues of human dignity and crushing poverty”

    EXACTLY! Facebook or no Facebook- people revolt out of a sense of indignation. Tough to pull off in an country whose people are within a few steps of a well stocked refrigerator- UNLESS there is the sense by a large enough segment of the population that “rights” (they think they have) have been trampled upon by the government .

    barring that- folks will bitch and complain- and vow to throw the bums out next election . . .but that’s about the extent of it.

  22. call me ahab says:

    sorry- forgot to close the italics tag- reposting-

    from the Frank Rich link-

    “People are not able to feed their families.” . . . “What’s important is “why they were driven to do it in the first place — starting with the issues of human dignity and crushing poverty”

    EXACTLY! Facebook or no Facebook- people revolt out of a sense of indignation. Tough to pull off in an country whose people are within a few steps of a well stocked refrigerator- UNLESS there is the sense by a large enough segment of the population that “rights” (they think they have) have been trampled upon by the government .

    barring that- folks will bitch and complain- and vow to throw the bums out next election . . .but that’s about the extent of it.

  23. louis says:

    “A dictator was overthrown and not one CIA agent was involved”

    Really?

  24. Moss says:

    One must not underestimate the impact that the financial crisis has had. The impetus for the mass dissent is rooted in the economic malaise which is magnified in an authoritative regime. Enough, enough enough.. wailed Wael. Sounds a lot line John Bogel when he railed out against the elites of Wall Street. It’s all interconnected… the immediate targets are different but all are within the firing line.

  25. Moss says:

    @louis

    What I mean is that this was NOT a CIA plot. The US intelligence apparatus was caught flat footed. Sure they are in bed with the Egyptian Military but they are reacting to the situation.

  26. jessica says:

    Where next? Maybe not Algeria.
    Transformative tech means that not only were people in Egypt who wanted to change able to find themselves, but people worldwide resonated with what the Egyptian people were doing. And many were plugged into sources of information other than the main-stream media. So the impact from Egypt is more direct, more full, less mediated by the narrow narratives of the main-stream media.
    So maybe the next Egypt is not next door, but far away. And maybe it takes a very different form.

    Also, Algeria may be more difficult. Like Iran, the regime has oil money with which to hire enough thugs to wage open war on its own people.

  27. This is real and has been going on for awhile, see this WaPo article from ’06. Clearly people are way out in front of the dictators but what concerns me is your data, their data, is on some server somewhere waiting to be read by those dictators, they are not just sitting around sipping tea. 

    Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/24/AR2006082401379.html

  28. VennData says:

    Netanyahu is already using the Egyptian revolution to bottle up what little in peace initiatives were out there. You must be joking if you think this right wing nut is going to do anything to let the economic interests who like conflict down.

  29. hammerandtong2001 says:

    Amazing stuff.

    I would have guessed that not many everyday Egyptians have access to a desktop. But they must all have cellphones or devices which can get them to the web.

    .

  30. derekce says:

    I wonder how many Facebook users there are in Saudi Arabia? That country looks ripe for revolution and would be a real game changer in the geopolitical matrix.

  31. davver1 says:

    I think it has a lot more to do with people making $1/day not being able to buy food then what they were tweeting on their Ipads. Hell, 30% of Egypt is illiterate. What percentage do you think owns a computer?

    The vast majority, if they accessed any kind of media at all, got it from satellite TV and phone texts, both of which were around for a long time now.

  32. Bob A says:

    soooooooooooooo sick of facebook
    no this will NEVER be my internet
    or my universal sign in
    or my ANYTHING

  33. MikeW says:

    OK, MZ gets to be Moses, but only as Chuck Heston’s understudy.