Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has doled out a number of phones to Egyptian activists on Twitter after they tweeted about the phone over the past week. According to observers of the Egyptian Twittersphere the phones were delivered after individuals promoted the product, launched this week in Egypt, on their personal accounts.
“It is one of those things that companies are now taking advantage of through new social networks,” said Mohamed al-Yunis, a political analyst and social activist. He was not particularly pleased with the move by the activists and called the promotion of a product on channels that “should be reserved for discourse and issues” a “sign that there is no shame among activists in this country in taking advantage of their newfound popularity.”
According to reports, Nokia passed out E8 phones, their newest android, after people on Twitter wrote statements in support of the new phone, praising it as a “great product that everyone should get.”
The phone is being marketed as an important social media tool that activists and political commentators can have to increase their online presence, but like Yunis, many in Egypt are worried that it will increase the diffusion between activism and business in the new Egypt.
By Desmond Shephard