Hosni Mubarak has finally succumbed to the pressure. Following nearly three weeks of intense protesting, the Egyptian people have convinced the nation's embattled president to step down from his post.
Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak's 30-year reign as president officially ended today. Egypt's military council will take control the country for the time being, presumably until a new round of elections takes place.
"In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic," Suleiman said during a 60-second TV appearance. "He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor."
The announcement sent the Egyptian people into a celebratory frenzy, both in the streets of Cairo and on the Web, where the campaign to oust Mubarak truly began.
Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim is largely credited with getting the wheels in motion by launching a Facebook campaign to inspire his fellow Egyptians to peacefully revolt against the government.
In fact, social media played a highly influential role in the 18-day protest. The Egyptian people used sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote the revolution, organize protests and educate the rest of the world on what was happening in the country.
Hundreds of tweets hit the Web in the first few minutes following the announcement, including a number from Ghonim, who some are calling a hero for his part in the revolution.
“The real hero is the young Egyptians in Tahrir square and the rest of Egypt," he tweeted. "Welcome back Egypt."
Meanwhile, other users were less celebratory and openly questioned the decision to temporarily hand the country over to the military, which is seen as part of the old regime.
"We didn't fight and sacrifice all of this, so as to have the army, which is ruling us from 1952, remains in power!" tweeted a user known as 3arabawy.
"Dear Egyptian army, be like the Egyptian people and surprise everybody by choosing the civilian state choice," added anonymous blogger Zeinobia.
The situation in Egypt, and earlier in Tunisia, truly show how social media tools have changed the world by giving individuals a voice powerful enough to reach the masses. A decade ago, the Egyptian people may not have been able to build up the leverage that was necessary to oust Mubarak and his administration.
Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.Edited by Janice McDuffee
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