Egyptian Crisis: The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted

The recent political and civil unrest in the Middle East has captured the world’s attention.

It has been fascinating and alarming to watch the battle between the Egyptian government and social media users looking to offer first-hand accounts of what’s happening. This battle was highlighted by the government’s decision to shut down Internet access. In a flash, Egypt disappeared from the global digital map, although there are signs it’s flickering back to life.

Given how social media is being increasing leveraged as a real-time reporting tool, we wanted to look at how many people are using Twitter in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – places in which there is active political protest.

We analyzed 52 million Twitter users, and discovered that only 14,642, or 0.027%, identified their location as Egypt, Yemen or Tunisia. Of these people, 88.1% were from Egypt, 9.5% from Tunisia and 2.13% from Yemen.

It is important to note this number probably doesn’t reflect the number of Twitter users since many users in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen likely do not provide their location information to protect their identities.

As well, the number of Twitter users could be skewed going forward if people around the world decide to support what’s happening by changing their location information to Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, or a city in one of these countries. This is what happened last year during the political unrest in Iran in which many people updated their Twitter location to Iran or Tehran.

The graphic bellow shows a summary of the 14,642 Twitter users in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

We also used Sysomos MAP to look at the tweets that included the words Egypt, Yemen or Tunisia. In total, there were 1.3 million tweets from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30, compared with 122,319 from Jan. 16 to 23.

We also created a BuzzGraph of the leading keywords. At the core is “Jan25”, which was the hashtag commonly used after the protests in Egypt started on January 25.

Twitter statistics on Egypt's crisis

Average number of followers: 138.3
Average number of friends: 143.8
Average posts/day: 3.24

Here’s a list of Egyptian Twitter users with the most followers:

While there are few Twitter users residing in Egypt, people around the world are using it to disseminate real-time information. The CNBC video discusses the issue, how a small focus group of 20-30 users inside Egypt are tweeting important information and how the rest of the world is using Twitter.