A moment in history from Egypt

The role social media has played in the unrest in Egypt that has occupied our TV screens for weeks is a subject of many opinions.

What’s pretty clear if you pay attention to Facebook and Twitter is that communication channels like these have played a significant role in enabling people to connect with others, whatever their affiliation and whatever their message.

No better is that illustrated than by the simple photo you see here taken in Cairo on Friday by Richard Engel, a news correspondent with the American NBC TV network, who tweeted it.

The man in the centre of the photo has a cardboard sign with one word in English anyone will likely recognize: Facebook. According to Mediaite, who published the pic, the sign in Arabic simply says “Thank you Facebook.”

Does this man look like your typical Facebook user? Not from a Western Europe perspective. He’s not the stereotype. It’s a moment in history captured in one still image. It redefines much of what we think we know about the role of social media in contemporary society, whatever shape that society takes and in whichever country and culture. Yes, I’d say it looks very much like that.

See also: Infographic: Social Media and Unrest in Egypt in TNW Social Media last week, which includes a neat infographic.

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