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Protests and revolutions are nothing new, but the recent troubles in North Africa and the Middle East have swept across nations at a frightening pace that’s never been seen before.

This worldwide phenomenon is helping protestors contact each other and organise events at the click of a button; thousands of people can be informed within minutes. Facebook events, groups and status updates, as well as Twitter posts and trending topics add a new dimension to the accessibility of all information, fuelling demonstrations such as those in Tiananmen Square.

The effect of these protests can even be projected across the whole world thanks to the rapidity of these social network sites. Today anyone can be a photojournalist by taking a picture or capturing a video with their mobile phone and uploading it to YouTube. The world can view pictures and films that have been taken only minutes, maybe even seconds, before meaning everyone can keep their finger firmly on the pulse.

We now live in a world where news and debate comes at us in a constant flow of articles, blogs, status updates, pictures, videos and tweets. Media is omnipresent and constant thanks to society’s need to stay connected with each other, and so sites such as Facebook and Twitter are fantastic platforms to spread your word quickly.

The beauty of social media is that it can be shaped for any purpose. In the case of politics, it is the perfect tool for gaining a real insight into the lives, opinions and reactions of the people that matter – the public.

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