With the protests leading to political change in Tunisia and Egypt getting so much attention (including for the role played by social media as a part of that), there have been questions about what country is "next." So it's interesting to see that the governments in both Syria and Sudan appear to think that social media tools may work more in their favor than against them. Wired reports that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal, has announced that he wants to extend computer and internet usage among the youth
, in the belief that young, connected people will "combat opposition" to the regime, rather than enhance it.
Meanwhile over in Syria, the government has lifted (widely ignored) bans on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
as part of an attempt to create a "new era" in the Middle East.
Whether or not either of these strategies will work for the regimes in charge remains to be seen -- but it's yet another reminder that technology does not inherently favor any particular party, but can be put to use for very different purposes by different groups.