Since reading Manuel Castell’s article “Networks of Outrage and Hope: social movements in the internet age,” Wael Ghonin’s reflection in Revolution 2.0 has taken on a new meaning. Castell’s analysis of the power of the internet to lead leaderless movements completely changes the way I view Revolution 2.0. Ghonin’s supports a variety of different revolutionary movements across Egypt- all from far away. He even creates websites so that a place exists where interested parties can get involved. He is both a leader and a supporter. On one level, he leads through his creation of resources and his instrumental use of the internet, while on another he is a bystander because he is not on the ground and is not trying to control the message.
After reading Castell’s article I can think of another way the internet can be perceived as a useful tool for movements. In Castell’s article he makes a big distinction between movements before the internet’s development and the ones nowadays: the biggest change is the lack of leaders in movements today. He justifies this change by explaining that with the internet you don’t necessarily need one leader, but rather you can have smaller movements led by different people under the guise of one ideology. Reflecting on Ghonin’s work, I think there can be another type of leader within the internet age, one that leads by example and who helps set up resources for those who might not have access to them. Here the internet is both the tool and the intermediary between him and the local leaders. Within this paradigm, Ghonin becomes somewhat of a consultant.