On Friday, Egypt largely turned off the internet for its 80 million citizens. At around 11:29 Cairo time (which is seven hours ahead of New York) this morning, all the big Egyptian internet service providers restored access. The striking chart shown here -- produced with our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring service -- shows today's massive surge in Twitter posts from users who self-identify as being in Egypt. A few notes:
|Recent hourly volume of tweets from users who self-identify as being located in Egypt.|
- Even when the internet was pretty much entirely down, Egypt-located tweets never really zeroed out -- which may be a function of Twitter users not actually in Egypt changing their location designation in solidarity (which happened in 2009 with regard to Iran in an attempt to confuse the Iranian government), as well as Twitterers actually in Egypt finding alternate ways to tweet.
- One of those alternatives: SayNow, just acquired by Google. As Newsweek reports, "Google says it has worked with the SayNow staff and with Twitter to allow Egyptians to leave voicemails that are posted as tweets at Twitter's @Speak2Tweet." Each of those posts is automatically tagged #egypt. The last time I wrote about SayNow, by the way, was in March of last year when disgraced singer Chris Brown used the service to beg his fans to show their support.
- In the past 24 hours, according to Trendrr, the term "Egypt" (including the hashtag "#egypt") has been mentioned in an average of 15,000 tweets an hour, with a peak of 30,123 posts in the hour that embattled President Hosni Mubarak gave his big speech. During the past seven days, there have been an average of 250,000 Egypt-mentioning posts a day, with a one-day peak of 574,765 tweets on Friday alone. Keep in mind that that's just for English-language tweets that explicitly include "Egypt" or "#egypt."
- Tweets that also include a roll-up of other Egypt-related terms -- including "#jan25" and "mubarak" -- spiked to just over 1 million Friday, and yesterday reached 999,283. As of 10 a.m. EST today, there have been nearly half a million Egypt-related tweets.
- In case you missed it, here is Anderson Cooper's widely retweeted tweet from earlier today (afternoon Cairo time); he's on the ground in Egypt reporting on the escalating violence for CNN: "Got roughed up by thugs in pro-mubarak crowd...punched and kicked repeatedly. Had to escape. Safe now."
- Here's Cooper's after-the-fact report on the situation (1:12 video).
- Shortly after noon Eastern time, CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman tweeted: "The mob has taken over central Cairo. #Jan25 #Egypt"
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.