Extolling the virtues of ‘the medium is the message’, social media platforms have clearly played an important role in helping people vent out their grievances,get the word out, and in helping organisers plan their protests. In the end, I don’t think it is not as much about a social platform as it is about the power of real time communication.
The social media tools can be incredibly powerful, both for spreading the word as well as generating external support thanks to the power of the network. And hence to deride all elements of cyber utopianism, social media may not have been a cause but it definitely has been a catalyst, a very powerful one.
So, to come back to the question. Social media did play a significant role in building the cause for the revolution but they did not necessarily let the people to revolt. They did help activists organise the dial-up and satellite phone connections that created a quasi-internet after Egypt turned the real one off – which, of course, it did in large part to try and prevent demonstrators from using the social media to strengthen their voice of dissent.
My response to: Has social media played a significant role in any revolution? on Quora.