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David Faris

Roosevelt University expert in digital activism to travel to Kenya for international summit

Posted: 06/15/2012

David Faris, a Roosevelt University assistant professor of political science, will discuss the significance and evolution of digital activism around the world today during a global summit being held in Kenya beginning June 29.

A leading expert on how social media is being used in non-Democratic countries, most notably Egypt, to organize protests and affect social change, Faris will be one of the speakers during the upcoming Global Voices Summit being held in Nairobi, Kenya through July 3.

“Social media has become a critical tool in expressing dissent in authoritarian nations around the world today,” said Faris, who will publish a book this fall that examines the recent use of digital activism in Egypt. The book is titled Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt.

“The upcoming summit will be an opportunity for academics, bloggers, activists and technologists to come together to talk about the rise and latest trends concerning online citizen media movements,” he said.

Faris is a board member of a new organization whose website is at www.meta-activism.org, where data is being collected, using primarily news accounts, on growing numbers of digital activism incidents taking place, particularly in non-Democratic nations.

“With this project, we are aiming to build on how social media has been used in the past to organize protests so that tools like Facebook and Twitter can be used more affectively in the future to impact change and social movements,” he said.

Faris, who spent extended periods in Egypt between 2007and 2011 researching the use of social media before and during the Arab Spring protests, believes that digital tools are critical to the success of today’s social-change movements.

“It is difficult to imagine a popular revolt or rebellion taking place without these tools,” he said.