A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marc Lynch Looks at Arab Twitter Trends on Gaza, Iraq, Syria

Marc Lynch, in "Arabs Do Care About Gaza," looks at Arabic Twitter trends to assess recent events in Syria, Iraq, and Gaza:
What did Palestine’s relatively declining place in Arab discourse really mean, though? For many analysts, especially in the West and Israel, it signaled a nail in the coffin of theories of linkage and the relevance of the Palestinian issue. For others, it was just a matter of the news cycle, since Palestine hadn’t had the mass demonstrations on the Tahrir Square model or the mass slaughter of Syria’s model . . .
Syria (in blue), which in 2012 and early 2013 consistently generated millions of tweets per month in Arabic, shows a relatively low level flat line. The shocking developments in Iraq (in green) galvanized attention in mid-June, and Iraq continues to attract more attention now than does Syria. But Gaza, after being virtually ignored for a long time, surges to dominate everything else once the conflict begins. Score one for the “latent relevance” hypothesis.
UPDATE: it's been pointed out that the table doesn't use the more frequent Arabic spelling of Syria as  سوريا, though a search with that spelling doesn't dramatically change the conclusion.

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