Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Everyone, Please Tweet About New Book About the Egypt Revolution's Tweets

That was fast.

Which is probably apt, given the subject matter of a book coming out soon made up of real-time Twitter from Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“Tweets from Tahrir,” which is being published by Or Books on April 21, says it is chronicling “an entirely new way of telling history.”

It will indeed be interesting to see all the myriad of tweets compiled in one place.

And the impact of social tools on the various protests in the Mideast will definitely be great fodder for some historian in the future.

That said, some think the focus on Silicon Valley social tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, rather than on the people’s will, is overhyped.

Still, social networking is simply a reflection of humanity, so examining its impact is well worth a read.

Plus, tweets are only 140 characters, so it is an easy one too.

Here is the press release on the book:


Egypt’s Revolution as It Unfolded, in the Words of the People Who Made It


With a foreword by AHDAF SOUEIF

Gsquare86M Gigi Ibrahim
Everyone in Cairo who wants Mubarak out and stands for justice come to Tahrir NOW!
Feb 2

“Without the new media the Egyptian Revolution could not have happened in the way that it did. The causes of the revolution were many; deep-rooted and long seated. The turning moment had come–but it was the instant and wide-spread nature of the new media that made it possible to recognise the moment and to push it into such an effective manifestation.”

–Ahdaf Soueif

The Twitter accounts of the activists who brought heady days of revolution to Egypt in January and February this year paint an exhilarating picture of an uprising in real-time. Thousands of young people documented on cell phones every stage of the action, as it happened. This book brings together a selection of key tweets in a compelling, fast-paced narrative, allowing the story of the uprising to be told directly by the people in Tahrir Square.

Some of the activists were ‘citizen journalists’, using Twitter to report on what was happening. Others used the social network to organize, communicating the next steps necessary for the revolution to move forward. Nearly everyone online gave instant reactions to the extraordinary events occurring before their eyes.

History has never before been recorded in this fashion. The tweet limit of 140 characters evidently concentrated the feelings of those using Twitter. Raw emotions burst from their messages, whether frantic alarm at attacks from pro-government thugs or delirious happiness at the fall of the dictator. To read these tweets is to embark a rollercoaster ride, from the surprise and excitement of the first demonstration, to the horror of the violence that claimed hundreds of lives, to the final ecstasy of victory.

Many of those tweeting also took photographs with their phones and these are used to illustrate the book, providing remarkable snapshots from the heart of the action.

Edited by young activists Alex Nunns and Nadia Idle, an Egyptian who was in Tahrir Square when Mubarak fell, Tweets from Tahrir is a highly original take on one of the most important and dramatic events in recent world politics. The result is as gripping as any thriller–but it’s all real.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work