The one common element that the world took away from recent elections in the U.S. and Brexit in U.K. is the instrument of dissent. If one side voted one way, then it was probably because they did so as a protest against incumbency, or to change the status-quo in hope for a better tomorrow.
The right to protest is one of those fundamental ways in which section(s) of free society bring to the attention of the government that something needs to change. But not all protests yield the desired result as effectively as they should.
For example, it took India, then under the British rule decades of protest to become an independent nation. Similarly, South Africa had to go through a bloody period of protests by its indigenous population to bring an end to apartheid.
Alternatively, Civil Rights movement had to take a similar path to have the government pay heed to the grievances of African Americans and one cannot say for certain that those issues have been properly addressed to this day.
Also, not every person who’s protesting needs to be part of a march or procession. With Internet becoming as powerful a tool as any, protests online too have a similar effect, especially when they are done via digital medium.
Protests against SOPA and PIPA bills are perfect examples to show the strength and efficacy of online dissent pooled together for a singular cause. Political messages by leaders have taken to the digital media, so it is only natural that a counterbalance such as protests take the same route.