Visualising the Egyptian revolution through Twitter

February 17, 2011
"I was very lucky to get this data", André Panisson tells us. He made the serendipitous decision to perform a test run of a Python server that would collect Twitter statuses around a particular hashtag on 11 February – the day that President Mubarak announced he would step down in Egypt.
 
The following video documents the "dynamic network construction" of Twitter users as they retweeted other Twitterers adopting the hashtag #Jan25 for an hour before, during and after Mubarak’s announcement.
 
 

 
On his blog, Panisson doesn’t offer a great deal of interpretation about what he thinks his data shows. I think I’d be guessing! And it seems from comments on the blog that you can’t read too much into the visualisation itself because it is in part "a direct effect of using the Force Atlas layout".
 

There’s another interesting visualisation of Twitter influencers during the protests on Kovas Boguta’s blog. He does offer more analysis of his Influence Network graphic suggesting that there is an intermediary group of influencers who connect journalists, NGOs and "foreign policy types" to activists on the ground.

It seems to me that this group plays a similar role to "bridge bloggers", or "bridge figures" who are able to illuminate and mediate the concerns of one culture to another through their experience of both. 

Boguta also notes that the protesters willingness to tweet both in Arabic and reach out to the rest of the world in English was a key difference from Iran in 2009. In the latter case, he suggests that "connections between those in Iran [who were tweeting in Persian] and the rest of the world were very thin and easily severed". 

 



Topics:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.