Image Source: Guardian.
I noticed when the uprisings in the Middle East began in Tunisia and then spread to Egypt this spring that, for media and Web commentators, this was the social media youth revolution. Millennials see these events as the dawning moment for Generation Y, wherein decades of passivity exhibited by previous generations has been swept away by educated, Internet-savvy, globally-aware twenty-somethings. I also noticed that there have been some noises specifically made about their Generation X predecessors not being conscientious enough to overthrow tyranny and oppression. That was odd.
On that note, today is the anniversary of the army massacres at Tiananmen Square in 1989. We should not forget what social and political protest looked like in the period just before the Information Age kicked in - otherwise, we might not see the long term pattern of these events. The Chinese government has not forgotten. According to a Guardian article, Zhou Yongjun, a former Tiananmen student leader, was arrested in 2009 and was held and tried for fraud. In 1989, he was 21 years old.
In other words, the Tech Revolution is indeed a decisive factor which does coincide with the fact that the majority of populations in developing nations are now under the age of 30. But the spirit and momentum of these democratic conflicts was not born this spring, in the same moment as the birth of Millennials' generational consciousness. To confuse the confluence of these three things is to misunderstand the larger conjunction of technology and democracy that has been transpiring for over two centuries. Below the jump, contemporary news coverage. Seeing these reports is déjà vu - all over again.