UCLA Project Keeps Eye on Tweets From Egypt

"Twitter is our conduit to capture the voices coming out of Egypt"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As the crowd celebrated Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, a team at UCLA was watching every tweet and passing it on to the world.

    "Hypercities Egypt: Voices from Cairo through Social Media" streams Twitter updates and overlays them on a digital map of Cairo.

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    Southern California is about as diverse as anywhere in the world, and many people with blood ties are watching Egypt with pride. (Published Friday, Feb 11, 2011)

    "Twitter is our conduit to capture the voices coming out of Egypt," said Yoh Kawano, a member of the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities program.

    "There are, literally, hundreds of Tweets per minute," Kawano said.

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    A team at UCLA follows the events tweet-by-tweet. (Published Friday, Feb 11, 2011)

    Here are a few from Friday morning after it was announced that Hosni Mubarak would step down as Egypt's leader:

      "Revolution or military coup? Will postpone that thought till tommorow , tonight we par-taaaaaay! #tahrir #Egypt #awesome"

      "Absolutely proud to be egyptian...#egypt #25jan #tahrir"

      "RT @monasosh: Ppl are chanting " Egypt is free, mubarak out" & " we r the youth of revolution" & " raise ur head, u r an Egyptian" #Jan25"

    Kawano and his team got together last week to launch the project. He said the application took about three days to build and launch.

    They created a similar program during Iran's 2009 presidential election. It featured YouTube videos, Twitter updates and images in chronological order.

    "Last week, when the unrest was happened, three of us from the Digital Humanities Collaborative got together and said, 'Let's try to build something that relevant for today.

    "One of the more powerful Tweets I saw was that at the end of a speech, everybody had taken their shoes off and waved them in the air."

    The program was built to work with Internet Explorer 8, but also functions on Firefox 3.6, Chrome and Safari.

    Click here to read more about the department and the project.