Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: A very very loud 15,000 Arabs, or maybe more

Track real time Twitter intensity for Tahrir Square Cairo and any location on earth. A free tool we rushed from pre-production to support the Arab revolt.

Social media intelligence firm Sysomos spent a lot of time analyzing the tweeting coming out of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen over the past several weeks. Sysomos was only able to identify about 15,000 tweeters with geo-locations in the three countries. This is less than 0.03% of the global population of 52 million tweeter users. Sysomos did conclude that a number of tweeters in these areas may be covering their identities.

If this is true, than they were a very load group of tweeters. On the night of January 11th and January 12th Total Social Media tweether report for Tehrar Square registered over 90% score, more in line with New York of London than Cairo. Even several days after the event tweets coming from Tahrir Square are ranging between 30% and 60%, which would be high for 15,000. On the night Mubarak fell we were seeing elevated level of tweeting through most of central Cairo and Giza more in line with a western city.

So what accounts for the fact that so few Twitter users could have made so much noise?

We have proposed the following explanation:

  1. A large percentage of active Twitter users in Cairo were concentrated in and around Tahrir Square on the nights of January 11th and January 12th. That they were tweeting at a very elevated rate, probably almost continually. Not the typical user firing off a few tweets on lunch or a movie, each tweeter in Tahrir Square was probably a mini-printing press.

  2. Egyptian political organizers were making good use of Twitter as the ultimate radio. Many of the available tweeter account and mobile smart- phone in anywhere in Egypt was probably being used by organizers to get their message out and to keep people on the ground informed. These tweeter accounts would be on continually, firing off messages almost around the clock.

  3. Re-tweeting carries the geo-tag of the original tweet with it, so the global network of supporters provided a amplification platform for the people in Egypt, multiplying almost each tweet many times if not many hundreds of times over.

  4. We have observed elevated tweeting rates in other parts of the Arab world since January 29th. We believe that a large number of Egyptians, and Arabs, have opened new Tweeter accounts in the past few weeks. We also believe that after the Cairo revolt tweeting is likely to become the social networking platform of choice for much of the developing world

We suspect that future intelligence reports will find a major increase in the use of tweet in the Arab world.

Track real time Twitter score for Tahrir Square Cairo


How Egyptians Used Twitter During the January Crisis

Web 3.0 Lab: A very very loud 15,000 Arabs, or maybe more

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