Background Scholarly Research

Previous: Purpose, Research Question, and Thesis

Much has been written worldwide on the far-reaching effects of digital media, especially when released or upon utilizing on the internet. More specifically, online programs, fora, and social networking have been examined for their astonishingly quick and effective means of spreading information (See General Bibliography for some references ~Activism). Several studies and researches have been undertaken to see just how effective these mediums have been in Egypt as a whole.

Studies find that social networking tools build broad communities based on mutual interests and lead to collaborative learning and action (Gunawardena). In his article “Social networks and student activism: on the politicising effect of campus connections”, Nick Crossley asserts that social networks are key to understanding university student activism and politicization (18-9). He conducted surveys in 1999 and dealt in specific with political activism on university campuses and found that being part of a social network (in the university) necessarily engaged students.
Though Crossley does not take into consideration online social networking, his research shows how effective conventional, face-to-face conveyance of goals and mobilization are. This ‘proactivity’ no doubt must be greatly facilitated and advanced with the use of digital rhetoric, whether through facebook, email, twitter, blogs, etc.

What we hope to add is an understanding, not only of how effective these domains are in promoting change and activism in Egypt, but specifically how effective they are in mobilizing students in the American University in Cairo.

Next: Methods

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