Nada Barakat reviews the newest trend -- assessment pages on the net
On the journey toward democracy young political activists are maximising the Internet's role in the Egyptian revolution by introducing online modern tools to monitor and assess the performance of Mohamed Mursi, the country's first freely elected president, his achievements and promises of the first 100-day plan via Morsimeter.com and other active awareness and evaluation campaigns.
Critique and assessment groups on Facebook and Twitter were at all major events, starting with pages to mobilise demonstrations, support revolutionary figures and promote a presidential candidate.
Morsy Meter is the newest assessment page. It is a simple timeline graph counting the 100 days and marking the achievements made. The new tool is inspired by Obama's metre of 2008 in the United States that followed the American president's performance.
Hazem El-Atawi, 19, a student of management at the German University in Cairo, is pro the trend and believes that it will take the opinions of youth to the president and affect his decisions. El-Atawi said he hoped that evaluation and monitoring tools would add more variety of opinions to take the vision and hopes of youth faster to the presidential administration.
Among special evaluation and assessment efforts comes "I am the President Campaign" which worked vigorously throughout the entire presidential race. It was neutral as far as those who were running were concerned, raised awareness of the electoral process and introduced the agendas and plans of the 13 presidential candidates. Its main task at present is monitoring political events, especially the president's performance.
Eshraq Bakr, a 27-year-old English teacher is happy with youth monitoring tools and campaigns and is determined to follow the first 100 days of achievements closely, because she says she has concerns about the promised programme. "I believe that nothing will be achieved in the first 100 days. If Mursi produces booming achievements it should be directly sensed with or without assessment tools," said Bakr.
For 25-year-old political activist and IT specialist Germin Nasser all web based Internet monitoring tools are positive. "However they are not really productive in Egypt since our Internet users are limited in number and Internet literacy is at the lowest world levels," he said. Moreover, most Internet activities are limited to the Internet community and never reach the Egyptian masses who are 60% illiterate.
Nasser who is a contributor to the campaign of political reformer Mohamed El Baradie and a founding member of Al-Dustor Party, raised doubts about the effectiveness of modern assessment Internet tools. He learned by time that Internet campaigns reach only a limited number of people. "We moved to more on-ground political awareness campaigns along with all Internet activities once Internet campaigns were proven unrealistic with statistics and misleading information that was a result of the Internet serving a limited segment that is similar in education and background, leaving out the rest of the Egyptian community," Nasser said.
Though 33-year-old Noha Salaheddin, relationship manager at Citibank, did not know about any of the assessment tools or campaigns, she believes that President Mursi fits best for this phase. "Since he was a college professor, he will use unique, organised scientific methods to solve problems and obstacles that surround the entire political scene. He will definitely welcome bonding and communication channels with the entire population either through the Internet or any other communication channel," Salaheddin added.
One concern about the effectiveness of the new Internet initiatives was raised by El-Atawi. "With the start of the revolution many Facebook groups spread rumours and misleading information to go with the flow and please their audience which created major instability and had negative effects on the integrity of the electoral process. New assessment campaigns should watch out for that fine line of integrity to avoid future unrest and to keep people's feedback effective."