Riots and Revolution
Technology has dramatically affected the way we communicate with each other as well as how we record what's going on around us. While you can joke that the Internet is comprised mainly of cat videos, the truth is that tech played a huge role in major social and political events in 2011.
Some of those events marked moments of revolution. The Arab Spring, a series of protests and riots that took place throughout countries in the Middle East and Africa, began in late 2010. In 2011, events in countries like Egypt, Iran, Libya and Syria saw citizens use technology to organize and document dramatic demonstrations against governments.
In London, two days of riots caught the world's attention. Precipitated by the death of a young man at the hands of the police, the riots seemed to be less about protesting politics and more about looting. Reports from journalists painted an ugly picture of rioters using services like BlackBerry Messenger to coordinate efforts to loot local businesses in several London neighborhoods. Rioters burnt some businesses to the ground.
Other monumental events in history took over the digital space. An IT professional named Sohaib Athar made headlines worldwide when we discovered that his Twitter messages about events in his neighborhood in Pakistan on May 1st were documenting the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. It seems like the spread of technology means we'll get citizen insight on all major historical events as they unfold from here on out.