Twitter Revolution in Pakistan?
The level of Internet penetration is Pakistan is still low. In a population of 177 million, only 18.5 million (10.4 percent) are connected to the Internet, though government officials quote a slightly higher figure of 20 million. Although it's twice that of India's Internet penetration of about 5%, Pakistan's penetration percentage is less than those in Tunisia (33.4 percent) and Egypt (21.1 percent). However, Internet use in Pakistan is growing at a rapid rate, particularly in urban centers where 40% of the population lives, which are also home to the middle class which often forms the backbone of mass-scale uprisings. Mobile Internet use shot up 161 percent in 2010 alone.
Pakistan figures prominently in the population of users of Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networking sites.
In terms of Facebook users in Asia, South Korea saw the largest increase of 65%, between March 01 2010 and June 01 2010. Other countries with double-digit growth rate are Thailand with 28.3%, India 27.7%, Japan 21%, Pakistan 12.9%, Malaysia 12.3%, and Vietnam 10.4%. Compared to figures extracted in March 2010, total Facebook users in Indonesia and Taiwan have shown decline, according to Grey Review.
According to Alexa, Twitter.com is the number twelve website in the world. It also ranks at number twelve in the United States. Outside the United States, Twitter is the eighth largest website in South Africa. The United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the Philippines all have Twitter as their tenth largest website, according to The Next Web.
Pakistan saw the beginnings of online civil and political activism in 2008-2009 when the lawyers, according to Woodrow Wilson Center's scholar Huma Yusuf, "used chat forums, YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, and blogs to organize the Long March, publicize its various events and routes, and ensure that citizen reporting live from the march itself can be widely circulated to counter the government-influenced coverage of the protest on mainstream media outlets (such as state-owned radio and private news channels relying on government-issue licenses".
With Pakistan's youth bulge and rapid growth in online user population, it is natural to ask if an Egyptian or Tunisian style youth-led revolution is on the horizon in the South Asian nation? Can the current disgust with the the failed political, military and intelligence establishment catalyze a mass youth uprising against the established order?