The Social Media of the Egyptian Uprising
Nine months is a long time to have your eye out for anything that says “Egypt” on the Internet. Invariably I found material that I could not fit into my conclusions. This collection of tools and works of art are here now to help you further your research.
“The Idiot’s Guide to Egypt’s Presidential Elections 2012” – A decent tip sheet put out by Egypt’s state-run news organization, Al-Ahram. It does not include a list of candidates, unfortunately.
Search in Different Languages on YouTube – Among nine other tips, Mashable brings you a guide to searching with different alphabets – including Arabic – on YouTube. Very helpful for those doing research on citizen journalism in the Middle East. The tips on searching better and keyboard shortcuts are also useful.
Twitter Translations Center – Users can volunteer to translate for Twitter. They are unpaid, but they can sometimes see products or features before the website releases them.
#TagDef – A database that offers user-generated definitions for popular hashtags. Downside: a lot of MENA-centric hashtags aren’t yet defined on the site. Upside: because it’s all user-driven, that can change if enough tweeters make the site a priority.
#18DaysInEgypt – A project with a mission similar to the one this site first had. The website has an incredible number of stories from inside Egypt using text, photos and videos to represent what is happening in the country through citizen journalism. The motto states, “You witnessed it. You recorded it. Now let’s write our country’s history.”
Visualization of Tweet Data Around Jan. 25 Protests – Bennett Resnik took social media data surrounding the protests that brought down Mubarak and made a visualization of the tweets and retweets, mapping the conversation, essentially. Each dot represents an instance of a retweet that included the hashtag Jan25. The visual allows users to see how interconnected tweeting was, supporting the idea that Twitter created a network or community. Read more about that here.
Chapter Two of Tweets from Tahrir – This is a PDF of the second chapter of a book made up of tweets from the uprising during the same time period I studied. I reference the book on this site, and I highly recommend buying it or borrowing it from your local library. At the very least, though, this PDF shows the tweets from January 25, the first day of the massive demonstrations, and it gives readers a good idea of how Twitter was used throughout the two weeks.
The book was edited by Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns. It was published in 2011 by OR Books in New York City, N.Y.
Livetweet of Andy Carvin Lecture – NPR’s Senior Strategist for the Social Media desk Andy Carvin gave a lecture about his use of Twitter in a new form of journalism at American University in April 2012. He spoke about how he got started on Twitter, its role in Egypt, the benefits of citizen journalism and the changing media scene. I livetweeted the class, and a journalism professor at the University of New Hampshire aggregated my tweets using Storify.
Photos from Feb. 11 – The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” blog displays 40 historic and heart-wrenching photos from the day Mubarak stepped down. The photos themselves raise questions about how this movement operated: why are so many of the protesters men? What will the effect of witnessing such violence and victory be on children who were in Tahrir Square? With so many people seen praying together, what role did religion play in building a community? This last question is addressed somewhat on this site in reference to Twitter and social movement theory.
Photos from Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections, Jan. 2012 – Freelance photographer Mosa’ab Elshamy has beautiful photos of Egyptians voting, campaign posters and other elements from the elections. His Flickr also has images going back to March 2011 of demonstrations, protest graffiti, etc.
Generation Tahrir – Here is a teaser for a film called “Generation Tahrir.” Four journalists are putting together a film about the youth of the uprising, how they organized and what has changed one year later, if anything. (Note: the preview is in French, English and Arabic with French subtitles)
Kazeboon – Originally called “Askar Kazeboon” or “the military lies,” this documentary tells the story of conflicts between activists and the military since the start of the January 25 protests leading up to the first anniversary of Jan. 25. It takes a distinctly anti-Mubarak, anti-SCAF standpoint so is problematic from a historical perspective but is interesting and moving nonetheless. Activists show it throughout the city, including projected on the outside of the state-run media’s office building. The version linked here has English subtitles.
“The I Don’t Understand Movie” – With money from grassroots fundraising online, a young man makes a story about the identity confusion he feels living as both American and Egyptian, splitting a childhood between the two countries.