2014 Umbrella Revolution – The Social Network Revolution

Lecture 8 of Digc 202 talks about the role of social media and 3 case studies of ways in which social media was used that result in social network revolutions.Cases studied were Syria, Egypt and Tunisia. There are 3 social media roles, which are Mobilisation, Coordination and Dissemination (Mitew,2017).

So what does Mobilisation refer to? It’s a process that Engage a wide range of people and raises awareness, to speak for a change and demand for a particular development (UNICEF, 2017).

According to Morozov (2011), Social media was a tool used by activists to further the work they had been doing underground for years, organising grass-roots rallies and connect with people on a large scale without the fear of being persecuted or shut down as they would have previously. This usually takes place in large gathering, like marches and demonstrations. Due to this, Mobilisation coordinates and dissemination continue to happen and this shows the roles of social media.

Connectivity is power – (Mitew, 2017)

One of the best Self-promotion on Social Media platforms made, was in 2014, by the “Umbrella Movement” in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy groups formed a movement and occupied Central, The Hong Kong’s Federation of Students and Love and Peace and a 20-year-old, Joshua Wong, were the pioneer in the social revolt against the limitation posed by Chinese Government on who could run for the Hong Kong Chief Executive in 2017 election. People started to fight for their civil right by marching in the streets of Central when the Universal Suffrage decision was taken down by the Mainland Government. Included teachers, secondary school pupils and members of the public, as well as local and mainland students by boycotting class for a week.

Revolution started when activist and students started joining the thousands of citizens along. What boosted the protest was the use of Social Media, images were circulating on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter related to the protest. The great amount of image sharing made it even more known in the world, many articles mentioned about the Movement and Wong. Wong also became “The Face of Protest” on Time Magazine cover. There were 1.3 million tweets about the protests on October 2014.

The power of individuals – (Mitew, 2017)


“The face of protest”, Time Magazine Cover, October 20, 2014 issue. ©Time Magazine, 2014.

This shows the power of social media and its role mobilising, coordinating and disseminating social network revolutions.

However, this was the starting point of Hong Kong’s democratic movement. It will come out with better skills and experience with prepared young leaders who know how to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people and knows how to put across their cause in international media.

Signing off,

Khan Sultana Nazish


Bohdanova, T. (2013). How Internet Tools Turned Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Into a Movement · Global Voices. [online] Global Voices. Available at: https://globalvoices.org/2013/12/09/how-internet-tools-turned-euromaidan-protests-into-a-movement/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].

Iyengar, R. (2014). Occupy Central: An Explainer. [online] Time. Available at: http://time.com/3471366/hong-kong-umbrella-revolution-occupy-central-democracy-explainer-6-questions/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].

Mitew, T. (2017). #mena #arabspring the social network revolutions the social network revolutions. Available at: https://prezi.com/ikufthacaunr/mena-arabspring-the-social-network-revolutions/

Morozov, E. (2011). Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go | Evgeny Morozov. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/07/facebook-twitter-revolutionaries-cyber-utopians [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].

Popova, M. (2010). Malcolm Gladwell Is #Wrong. [online] Design Observer. Available at: http://designobserver.com/feature/malcolm-gladwell-is-wrong/19008/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].

UNICEF. (2017). Social mobilisation. [online] Available at: https://www.unicef.org/cbsc/index_65175.html?p=printme [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].


3 thoughts on “2014 Umbrella Revolution – The Social Network Revolution”

  1. At the time of the umbrella revolution, I also got live information through social networks. Although I could not get involved all the time, the social platform allowed me to learn about the revolution and discuss with my friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that’s quite a lot of proof to show that social media was playing a big role in the spread of the protest information. I actually agree because I felt I was a part of the movement as every hourly updates were available for me on Facebook!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arriving at Hong Kong in 2014 and witnessing Umbrella Revolution was something to behold – I also remember how it was everywhere I looked. Every Facebook post, every tweet, thousands upon thousands of Instagram posts and materials which were shot by local youngsters were used in news coverages worldwide.
    I guess the longevity of the created content is something that really impressed me and I felt like a participant.

    Liked by 1 person

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