In 2011, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) sent the Egyptian people 93 letters via its official Facebook page. The first letter opened with the announcement that the SCAF will rule the country during the transitional period in the wake of the 25 January revolution.
A careful reading of the SCAF’s 93 letters reveals a shift in its discourse, particularly in its understanding of its role vis-a-vis the revolution, its perception of national interest and its depiction of the revolutionaries.
The first letter, posted on 17 February, was the first in a prolific month; a total of 26 letters were posted in the month of February alone. The frequency was remarkable in the outset, with a rate of two letters per day. Soon afterward, the rate dropped to eight letters in the entire month of March, five in June, five in July, three in August and one in October; and rose again slightly to 11 in the month of November and six in December, including — for the first time — a letter in video-format.
The longest period of silence was from 5 October (letter 76) to 2 November (letter 77). This period was marked by the 9 October violence when military forces shot and ran over mostly Coptic protesters as they marched to the Maspero state TV building.
If the “Like” count on a Facebook post is in any way revealing, it shows that fewer and fewer numbers of Facebook account-holders are impressed with the SCAF’s letters. During the month of February, the “Like” button on each letter posted was hit by about 20,000 account holders on average. By the end of the year, each letter got an average of 5000 “Likes,” a quarter of the initial numbers, despite the fact that the number of subscribers to the SCAF’s official page reached over 1.5 million by December 2011.
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