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Campaigning with Twitter in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

Dounia Mahlouly
University of Glasgow
Dounia Mahlouly
University of Glasgow
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Abstract

Despite the controversial name of “Twitter revolution”, which media referred to during the 2011 Tunisian or Egyptian uprisings, research revealed that only a very small amount of citizens actively used this social platform in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. However, although Facebook and traditional mass media reach a much broader audience, social scientists emphasised the qualitative – rather than quantitative – impact of Twitter, in framing and reporting local media events (Eltantawy and Wiest 2011; Meraz and Papacharissi, 2013). Studies also indicate that Twitter users in the Middle East manifest a particular interest for political topics (Salem and Mourtada, 2011). The strategic features of this communication channel along with the fact that Twitter’s penetration kept increasing over the months that followed the revolutions makes it a significant tool for political campaigns. Drawing on my PhD research, this paper will highlight the way political officials, such as candidates of the 2012 Egyptian presidential campaign, applied Twitter to promote their political programme. I will examine this set of tweets in relation with the way activists and national bloggers have been reporting the 2012-2013 Egyptian crisis. Furthermore, I will address the contribution of Twitter in the presidential campaign, comparing it with other communication devices and campaigning strategies.