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The Power of Your Click: Who’s in control of Egypt’s tweets, now?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Power of Your Click

This week, welcome OurValues Media Director Dmitri Barvinok, reporting on social media.

Happy Independence Day from!

The last known tweet by Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi on July 2, Cairo time.

The last known tweet by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi on July 2, Cairo time. Morsi had been tweeting in Arabic, but Twitter automatically added a Bing-powered translation so English-language readers could follow his tweets.

This week, we’ve been discussing the real-life impact of social media, and nothing has shown this potent power more than recent protests and revolutions around the world. From the Arab Spring to Turkey and Brazil, young people are using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to organize massive protests against their governments.

Over the past 24 hours, we just witnessed a titanic Twitter battle for control of Egypt—followed by an ongoing battle over daily updates on Wikipedia’s brand new “2013 Egyptian coup d’état” article.

After more than two years of The Arab Spring, it’s clear that far more than teens and 20-somethings understand the great power of hand-held social media.

On July 3, after Morsi already was in military custody, the "Egyptian Presidency" Twitter feed still was going strong, presumably powered by Morsi's supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood.

On July 3, after Morsi already was in military custody, the “Egyptian Presidency” Twitter feed still was going strong, presumably powered by Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood.

In December 2010 and early 2011, savvy protest organizers literally could steal a march on government forces by nimbly using smartphone social media apps to move crowds. Now, in the summer of 2013, clearly President Morsi—and his supporters in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—understand the influence of these direct lifelines to followers.

One reporter after another—covering the transition from Cairo protests to full-scale military coup—discovered that Morsi kept tweeting even after he was arrested by military authorities and was whisked away to some undisclosed location. Presumably, Morsi’s captors did not want him to continue tweeting. Nevertheless, according to multiple reports, someone from the Brotherhood network has control of the Egyptian Presidency Twitter feed and was tapping out messages on behalf of Morsi—long after his arrest.

One reason reporters were so quick to follow this strange twist in tweets is an automatic translation option Twitter has added through other online services, including Bing. Anyone in the English-speaking world now can get a quick sense of what is being said in the waterfall of Arabic-language tweets flowing through Cario’s streets.

What do you think of this social-media-powered style of revolution?

Is it democracy in a pure form? Or, prone to manipulation?

Have you followed protests on Wikipedia? Or on Twitter?

Please, leave a comment below:


Series Navigation<< The Power of Your Click: Do you Tweet your TV?The Power of Your Click: Is social media slowing your workplace? >>
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