Why Syria isn’t in the headlines more

Syrian army tanks are seen stationed at the entrance to Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs on February 10, 2012. Syria ignored a new Arab initiative to end the bloodshed, with its troops pounding the protest hub of Homs as Russia said a ceasefire is needed before peacekeepers can be deployed. Photograph by AFP/Getty Images.

Here is an interesting story about how social media interacts with other media (and other variables) to get the world’s attention – or not.

Syria has been in crisis for 11 months. While it’s definitely a feature on the twitter stove, it’s kind of on the back burner. This article looks at why, despite gross human rights violations and many other similarities with Iran and Egypt (where social media was in the spotlight for highlighting atrocities), the global heat is just not on, with Syria.

Among several reasons given, I think there is some learning in there:

Novelty: While people may have watched transfixed when Iran and Egypt blew up, they are fickle and perhaps have something else more fascile to talk about now.

Length of time: Egypt’s revolution was short and explosive. Syria has gone on for nearly a year, with no obvious end in sight.

Credibility: Egyptian bloggers weren’t new to the scene – they had been around for a long time, tweeting under their own names, rather than pseudonyms. Syrians are less likely to tweet under their own names because of repression, and they don’t have long standing links with twitter diaspora. Lack of time online also leads to possible fraud and mistrust by the rest of the world.

Vociferous diaspora: Syria’s diaspora just isn’t as big as Egypts – and that plays out in the real world and the online world.

See more here.