Social networks have also been given plenty of credit for the revolution unfolding in Egypt.
So I went and had a look at the numbers over on www.internetworldstats.com to see what they could tell us about these two scenarios. Well, fascinatingly, both Egypt and Tunisia have seen a massive growth in internet users and internet penetration over the last 10 years.
Both have now got internet penetration of over 20% and in Tunisia's case it was as high as 34%.
While it is clearly simplistic to over-state this factor and there must be many more drivers contributing to such a rapid political uprising, it is obviously a factor as evidenced by the Egyptian regime pulling the plug on the country's internet access to try and block the rising tide of revolt.
My back-of-napkin theory is this: that a rapid increase in internet pentration in a repressive regime does play an important role as it provides an unfettered channel of communication allowing disaffected citizens to share views - and more importantly - to rapidly organise and mobilise.
If Egypt and Tunisia are valid case studies, it looks like internet penetration of around 20% is the mark.
This is clearly a threat acknoweledged by China where rapid internet access has also co-incided in strict censorship of internet content and technologies - especially social networking sites like twitter and facebook which have played such a major role in Egypt.
So, based on my own back-of-napkin theory, I would calculate that the chances of a similar social revolt occuring in Jordan where internet penetration has risen to 27,2% over the last 10 years are VERY HIGH.
Using the same theory, I would predict that Yemen's chances of revolution are VERY LOW with internet penetration at less than 1.8%
Iran might be more worried though. With internet penetration at 43% they had better be sure they keep the peeps happy.
Have a look at my map and table (data source: internetworldstats.com) below and tell me who you think may be ripe for revolution in African based on this assumption? I know what I'm thinking but would be interested in your thoughts.
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