More on Egypt

I mentioned something in class about the use of social media in the recent (and ongoing) protests in Egypt a few weeks ago.  Shortly after that class, most internet access was cut off throughout Egypt, as were cell phones and text messaging services, meaning that even the creative ways to bypass specific blocked sites were made useless, since almost no one could access anything on the internet at all.  (Later on, internet was completely cut off, although it has since been restored.)

In some ways, and particularly for Egyptians in Egypt needing to communicate with each other, this meant that the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media to organise their demonstrations was not really an option anymore, although the demonstrations have continued despite this.  Here’s an article from Al Jazeera that goes into more detail on the role of internet and social media during this Egyptian uprising.

And, interestingly, some creative projects sprang up so that people in Egypt could continue to express themselves through Twitter, so that anyone following the events from outside Egypt could continue to receive updates from there.  One student in the US did this through calling people on landlines and posting their comments on Twitter. Google, Twitter and SayNow teamed up to create a new “speak-to-tweet” service, in which people could call a number from their landlines and leave a message; these messages were both typed up and posted as tweets, and made available as audio files so that people could listen to the recordings (which you can find here.)

Interesting examples, I think, of technological creativity to circumvent the imposition of some major limitations, and also of the interaction between more traditional landline telephone systems and something like Twitter, which is usually talked about in the context of new media and mobility.

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