Egyptian Uprising Aided by SoHo-Based Website
By Kiratiana Freelon on February 6, 2011 2:55pm |
By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — As the Cairo uprising continues, a SoHo-based non-profit is helping protestors use the tools of social media to connect with each other and evade capture by authorities.
Movements.org, formerly known at the Alliance of Youth Movements, was founded in 2008 by tech executives, including Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen and Howcast.com founder Jason Liebman, to help the leaders of grassroots movements around the world organize through online networks.
Last week, the group launched what they call an "online hub for digital activism," featuring articles like "How to Remain Connected if Your Internet Gets Shut Off,""How to Boost your Security on Facebook by Enabling HTTPS," and "How to Access Blocked Websites."
Movements.org Development and Corporate Partnerships Manager Rachel Silver said the group decided to begin publicizing the site earlier than planned, in response to the recent string of Middle East uprisings, which have brought increased attention to the role of social media as a tool for revolutionary change.
While Silver said it’s difficult to know exactly what effect the site has had on the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, there is some reason to believe that they are having an impact.
"It’s been really hard to be in touch with people who are in Egypt right now…but we can tell just from our analytics and Twitter that people in the region are accessing the site," Silver said.
In addition to providing informational resources on their website, Movements.org hosts an annual summit to connect technology leaders, activists and members of the private sector.
Attendees of the 2008 summit included members of Egypt’s April 6 Movement, who have since played an important role in the Cairo uprising, a statement on Movements.org noted.