Did Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube send people out into the streets? Of course not. Did they speed up the process of protest? Absolutely.
Those who say social media is of little help in organizing are confusing the message with the transmission of the message. While social media can’t create the message, it can shape it. More important, especially in tumultuous fast-moving times when tens of thousands are in the streets, social media can transmit the message almost instantly when nothing else can.
The Tunisia protests that toppled that government were partly ignited by the Wikileaks relevations about corruption there. Twitter, Facebook, and texting were the primary modes of communication for protesters. The Egypt protests are clearly sympathetic detonation triggered by Tunisia.
Some call it the hive mind, others say it’s leaderless resistance. Whatever the name, it is a new phenomenon and is spread by social media.