Once again a debate on the role of social media during the political unrest is gaining attention.

In 2010, when the Arab Spring protests erupted, people began to call the uprisings “Twitter Revolutions”. Current Euromaidan protests in Ukraine will probably give us an opportunity to understand and discuss the role of new media. In the past, media provided a kind of a filter. Only news that was considered important would be shared with the audience in the newspaper or television. Today, anyone can make any information public almost anonymously on many platforms without even asking for permission. Images and videos of fighting on the streets of Kiev were posted online instantly, reaching audiences around the globe. Even the foreign ministers of EU countries that were participating in mediation talks were live tweeting about progress of the talks.

It is hard to judge whether the social media is directly influencing and shaping political events such as those in Ukraine or Arab countries.

The voice of protesters can certainly be heard directly and reaches people around the globe. Currently, a small group of passionate people can influence many others as their posts, tweets or videos are widely shared and discussed. For instance a message from a female protester posted on YouTube created a huge media buzz, hitting 5 million views in less than a week

Revolutions did happen in the past and social media is definitely not creating the disruption. The main difference is the way the information is now communicated. It’s much faster, reaches more people, and is not as dependent on the power of mass media.