Though many of the Middle Eastern revolutions have come and gone, the prevailing reasons behind them are still under much debate. The conflict largely hinges on whether or not social media can create action. According to one theory, it can actually stop it.
Navid Hassanpour, a political science graduate student at Yale University, wrote his new paper investigating the power of social media during the Egyptian uprising. He differs from Malcolm Gladwell's now-famous story that took media to task for praising Twitter and Facebook during the revolutions by saying that, yes, they do serve as good organizing tools. But they're also great at distracting people from their cause, creating a normalizing effect that cows people into apathy.
The most important mobilizing factor, and Mubarak's biggest mistake, was when the Egyptian government shut down the internet. Speaking with the New York Times, Hassanpour said: