Writing a blog on a somewhat regular basis has caused me to pay more than my usual attention to words, how they are used and how that use often springs from the intersection of emerging technologies and current events.
During the demonstrations in Egypt the last few weeks, the leader Mubarack’s name was spelled out on signs followed by expressions borrowed from the video and web worlds; “Game over Mubarack” and “Mubarack is Offline.” Then Mubarack became a verb. Like the brand name “Google” which stands for searching online, and the term “Xeroxing” for making copies, “Murbarack” has come to mean, “to fail to get the hint.”
Talking with friends who have as little knowledge and experience with tweeting as I do, (next to none), we collectively decided to drop our objections to people letting one another in on their exact location frequently throughout the day. After witnessing the young Egyptians’ use of technology on behalf of democratic nation building, we acknowledged that tweeting and other social networking tools are definite assets and indispensable when creating a revolution.
But for me, the greatest impact related to language came from expressions on signs and tweets relating to the death of Khaled Said, one of the protesters allegedly killed by the Egyptian police. The Google executive, Wail Ghonim, created a facebook page whose name was echoed on signs throughout the square: “We are all Khaled Said.”
The responses in Egypt to this call for solidarity, and subsequent responses in other countries (including our own); demonstrate that if adopted, this message of oneness could be the most significant revolution of all.