First in Tunisia, then in Egypt, now in Libya: technologically savvy protestors are making extraordinary use of the Internet and digital media to support mass movements against autocratic governments. The Twitter hashtag #jan25 and its corresponding date in history will mark a change in how those seeking to cling to power will look at networked digital technologies for the coming generation.
But before we get too excited about the future of global democracy, we should put the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa in their proper context. One context is regional. The other is historical.