n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - Perspectives on social media and political engineering

Volume 2013, Issue 47
  • ISSN : 1025-8892



This article sets out to review and reflect on the perspectives of several scholars who have had the opportunity to engage with the phenomenon of social media and politics and polity in North Africa. The article, by means of content analysis of published /secondary sources, and by adopting a descriptive approach, attempts in the first segment to define political engineering and social media, and highlight the debate on the political utility of social media based evidence from Philippines and United States. The article thereafter, provides an overview of the metamorphosis of the media landscape at the onset of the Arab spring as background to a more detailed debate on whether new media impacts on political change in North Africa, and if it does, to what extent?. The author then crafted three emerging schools to explain and describe the competing intellectual tradition that seems to be evolving in an attempt to place accurate value on social media-political change relations in North Africa. These are the maximalist (optimist), the minimalist (pessimist) and the multi-factor's schools. In conclusion, the article noted the fact that the huge impact of social media cannot be underestimated, but neither should it be overestimated. However, given the growing popularity of social media users, the more direct and indirect influence can only be expected in Africa in the near future.

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