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Opinion: Is This the #Jan25 Uprising?

What's in a name? Might this become the world's first (but not last) revolution named for a Twitter hash tag?

First came Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution" and now we have the "#Jan25 Uprising" - the world's first revolution named for a Twitter hash tag.

Calling it the "Twitter Revolution" misses the beauty of the hash tag itself, and besides what would one then call the upcoming social unrest in other Arab States? So-called "hashtag dates" are already being planned for the Arab world: Sudan #Jan30, Yemen #Feb3, Syria #Feb5, Algeria #Feb12 and Bahrain #Feb14.

Photo by Arabist, via TwitPic

I am not the only one who argues that "Twitter Revolution" is not the right term. Ulyses Mejias has written vehemently that "...[I]t is [absurd] to refer to events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere as the Twitter Revolution, the Facebook Revolution, and so on." And he is right. Let me quickly just give the floor to Mejias, since he in turn is generous enough to note that things can sometimes best be expressed by others closer to a situation:
"I, for one, refuse to associate corporate brands with struggles for human dignity. I agree with Jillian York when she says:
“...I am glad that Tunisians were able to utilize social media to bring attention to their plight. But I will not dishonor the memory of Mohamed Bouazizi – or the 65 others that died on the streets for their cause – by dubbing this anything but a human revolution.'

 Ethan Zuckerman says much the same, when he writes:
"Tunisians took to the streets due to decades of frustration, not in reaction to a Wikileaks cable, a denial-of-service attack, or a Facebook update.""
Mejias goes so far as to title his post "The Twitter Revolution Must Die" - read it for yourself to see exactly why. Because York – who is based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University but was writing in her private capacity – states the case in somewhat less sensationalistic terms, I will give the final word to her:
"...[T]o call this a 'Twitter revolution' or even a 'WikiLeaks revolution' demonstrates that we haven’t learned anything from past experiences in Moldova and Iran. Evgeny Morozov’s question –”Would this revolution have happened if there were no Facebook and Twitter?”'– says it all. And in this case, yes, I – like most Tunisians to whom I’ve posed this question – believe that this would have happened without the Internet. "
What do you think? Is "#Jan25 Uprising" just as bad as "Twitter Revolution" – dishonoring those who have lost their lives in Egypt? Does it perhaps disingenuously suggest that the Arab world could not overthrow its various dictators except with the explicit help of U.S.-based social networks?

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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