There seems to be some evidence that the Egyptian protests have been organized the old-fashioned way.
Thursday, January 27: Anonymous leaflets circulating in Cairo also provide practical and tactical advice for mass demonstrations, confronting riot police, and besieging and taking control of government offices. Signed “long live Egypt”, the slickly produced 26-page document calls on demonstrators to begin with peaceful protests, carrying roses but no banners, and march on official buildings while persuading policemen and soldiers to join their ranks.
The leaflet asks recipients to redistribute it by email and photocopy, but not to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which are being monitored by the security forces.
Charlie Stross suggested recently: “If I was in charge of organizing communications within a mass insurgency today, I would have an iron rule for comsec: With the exception of tools for real-time communication in the field during tactical engagements, no communication technology invented after 1945 may be used. Yes, microdots. Yes, dead letter drops. Yes, invisible ink made at the kitchen sink out of household ingredients. Yes, human couriers. Make the f--kers work to intercept our communications and hunt us down.”
It is still unclear to me that the internet had much effect on organizing the Egyptian revolt. It is fairly clear that it made it easier for the Iranian government to suppress the demonstrations in 2009. Malcolm Gladwell still stands.
Now, as far as validating a pet theory, conscription may be playing a key role in why the Egyptian army has not acted against the rioters ... or it may not. Thoughts?