Identity is about having a sense of belonging; it has to do with commonalities and differences with one another; it is about the principles we share and contradict with our ancestors. Identity gives one a sense of placement, the stability necessary for an individual to feel visible. Egyptian youth is undergoing an identity crisis. There is a struggle between tradition and modernity in contemporary Egyptian youth. This leads to confusion within the youth of their traditions and distorts what makes up popular culture today.
A lot of this blurring can be directed to the increasing availability of the Internet and social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). The Internet has become the major platform in Egypt’s youth today: from how they express themselves to entertainment. Take, for example, the revolution going on as we speak. The youth is using this commodity to counter Egypt’s security forces and enhance, exponentially, their communication. The power of the Internet and social media within the youth’s fingertips was growing so fast, so quickly the President of the Egypt had to shut it down in fear of more riots and uprisings. When not concerning of revolutionary war, most of Egypt’s youth uses the Internet to interact and establish relationships with the opposite sex.
Television is another form of entertainment highly used in Egypt’s pop-culture. Egyptian television is the most watched media, not only Egyptian youth, but in all of Arab culture. Egyptian cinema is also leader within its region; its annual Cairo International Film Festival is a great example of that (initiated in 1976). The increase in popularity is so great from the youth, it has surpassed revenues from Egyptian films (50 million) compared to American or Western films (10 million).
Egyptian music has also taken a swift turn in modern times. Music in Egypt has always been a vital part of its culture. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, western traits have been incorporated into Egyptian music (instruments like the piano and violin). Most of the 20th century, classical pop music held the title for most popular musical genre. Here is an example from this era’s most popular classical singer, Um Kulthoum. However, contemporary Egyptian pop music have since taken the throne, especially in the eyes of its youth. Here is example of a pop song beloved in Egypt by its youth.
It’s evident globalization is highly impacting Egyptian culture, particularly its youth. Technology has opened the youngster eyes to the world and have since began to integrate characteristics from all parts of the world to formulate their own version of their identity. How ever misplaced it may be, social media is playing a major role in these young individuals daily lives and are using it to shape their own popular culture.