This time, Twitter reigns

It is already Day 17 for the protest movement in Egypt.

In the uprising’s third week, CNN’s Ivan Watson interviewed Wael Ghonim, who played a key role in organizing protesters using the Internet. He said Egypt’s uprisings are “definitely an Internet revolution…I’ll call it Revolution 2.0.” Ghonim, a Google marketing executive and Facebook political activist, was freed Monday after being held by Egyptian authorities for 10 days. He told Watson:

“If you want to free a society, just give them Internet access, because people are going to, the young crowds are going to all go out and see and hear the unbiased media, see the truth about, you know, other nations and their own nation and they’re going to be able to communicate and collaborate together.”

Day 17 has potential to be a monumental day for Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak could step down as soon as tonight and delegate power to his new vice president, according to a senior member of Egypt’s ruling party. In addition, The Lede reported this morning:

“Lyse Doucet, a BBC correspondent in Cairo, reports on Twitter that she has just spoken with Hossam Badrawy, the secretary general of the Mubarak regime’s National Democratic Party, and he said that Mr. Mubarak will ‘probably’ speak tonight and he ‘hopes’ that the president will hand over his powers to his vice president, Omar Suleiman.”

Omar Suleiman

I want to point out that Doucet reported the news on Twitter. I wonder, if Mubarak does step down soon, will the event be reported first on Breaking News on Twitter? There is a good chance it will.

Ten minutes ago, the Associated Press (AP) tweeted, “Military officials say army will issue communique shortly that will meet Egyptian protesters’ demands.” I compared the current news on the AP’s website to the statement on Breaking News on Twitter. The website does have a breaking news story posted that relates to the tweet. But, when looking at the post times for each story, the Twitter update beat the story on the AP website by eight minutes. I understand it takes more time to compile a detailed story. But the breaking news tweets still amaze me. (Being a new user of Twitter, I was not aware until today that I can receive breaking news updates to my phone. I’m thinking, with the rate of news posted on Twitter, my phone might be overwhelmed…?!)

Twitter quickly delivers the news.

And, coincidentally, as I write this post, a WHDH 7News Special Report interrupted Al Roker on the Today show to inform the public what I – and I’m sure many other people – already knew 10 minutes ago because of Twitter:

“According to the AP and our affiliates at NBC, it is believed that President Hosni Mubarak will speak to the nation sometime tonight and meet their demands… It looks like he will be stepping down.”

Thanks, Adam Williams, but 7News is behind. A living example of why the Internet is overcoming newspaper and television news. I look forward to discovering the breaking news about Mubarak stepping down tonight on Twitter.

First inserted photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Second inserted photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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