Web 2.0: My Parents Have Named Me Facebook; It Means Freedom

Post Egypt’s web 2.0 revolution, an Egyptian man aware and thankful to the role that social media played in successfully over throwing Mubarak has decided to name his newborn daughter Facebook. Obviously, little Facebook’s father was thinking of Facebook as a place where people plan political action and not as a platform of romantic entanglement or drunken exhibitionism that it is used for by many for most of the time. Our world is full of contradictions as while in the west parents are concerned about children being on Facebook, in Egypt parents are paying homage to Facebook for its role in the 25 of January revolution by naming its children after it.

There are five million Facebook users in Egypt, more so than any other country in the Middle East/North Africa region and Facebook itself has reported an increase in Egyptian users in the past month, with 32,000 Facebook groups and 14,000 pages created in the two weeks after January 25th. The Egyptians are fully embracing web 2.0! Wael Ghonim, the hero of the hour and the Google executive who started a Facebook page that sparked Egypt’s revolution has said he believes web 2.0 and social media powered the revolution; when he was asked what was next for the wave of democratic revolutions spreading across the Arab world, Ghonim answered, “Ask Facebook.”

What is interesting is while this little baby girl could just have easily been called ‘Twitter’ (my preference, sounds nicer!); ‘Google’ or even ‘text’; it seems Facebook has become the mascot for how web 2.0 and social media can play an integral part in achieving freedom. There are numerous messages scrawled on walls and building in Cairo saying ‘thank you Facebook’.

So, while we cannot under-estimate the role of Facebook's in the Egyptian revolution, it seems that the world's largest social networking site, is keeping quiet about things and seems to prefer it this way, because it doesn't want to be viewed as a political tool which is also a business concern. However, Facebook's role in political change is far from over, as we now have other revolts underway in the Middle East and North Africa and Facebook is becoming a web 2.0 venue for protesters in those countries.

I wonder as this domino affect carries on through this region whether we will see more children named Facebook or maybe even a Twitter...or maybe some-one will go so far as a new baby ‘Zuckerberg’.

Photo Credit: wikimedia commons