Random Thoughts on Egypt: The Revolution That Was Televized

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Back in late 1960s and early 1970s,  much of popular culture was galvanized behind preparing for some kind of  “revolution” from the status quo, from the government, from time-honored American ideals.  This revolutionary zeal was fueled by opposition to the war in Vietnam, the civil right movement, woman’s liberation and other developments.  The message was delivered for the most part by popular music.

In 1970, a fellow Chicagoan named Gil Scott-Heron penned a prose poem song set to bongos called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which addressed the superficiality of television and a lot of other stuff going back in that tempestuous time.   Scott-Heron’s music career and life hit the skids a decade ago, but he’s back playing music.

Given the true revolution that continues to take place in Egypt today, I question whether this sustained, relatively peaceful movement to dispel 30-year president Mubarak would have happened had it not been for television and that more modern form of communication, social media.  The world saw the demonstrations live and in color, literally every night since January 25.

The revolution in Egypt, was, indeed televised, and it will continue to dominate world news for months.

Here are a few other questions:

  1. As noted, the mass rallies in Cairo and other Egyptian cities were organized in part through social media. Will this be the template for future revolutions in the Mid East or elsewhere?  Will despots in power shut down online communications to prevent movements from happening in their countries?
  2. It’s relatively easy to start a revolution, but there’s no real solid formula for putting a nation back together.  What political, cultural, social and economic factors will be in play when Egyptians launch a new democratic government?
  3. Egypt’s position in the world and the Middle East, is of course, in question because we really don’t know who will be in charge and how and when that person will be elected.  What public relations strategies and tactics will be employed to help define and shape the new Egypt?  Will public relations as defined by many of us — the practice to build relationships through effective communication, open disclosure of information and sharing ideas — be a part of the new Egypt?

These and other questions surely will surface in the days and months to come. And, the results surely will be televised.  And tweeted.  And posted on Facebook.