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A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

January 16th, 2011 01:57 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

After four weeks of civil unrest, the fall of the Tunisian president Ben Ali played out for all the world on Twitter this Friday, some dubbing it a “Twitter Revolution” like the election protests in Iran and Moldovia. Increasingly, collective events from TV shows to the World Cup to #lessambitiousmovies to the fall of dictatorships cause spikes in related conversation on the microblogging network which, with its broad media influencer adoption, has become the world’s eminent news amplifier.

Christopher Golda of Backtype (which does Twitter analysis) provided us with snapshot of Tunisa mentions on Friday January 14th. Not surprisingly the hashtag peaked at 28 tweets per second at 21:27:56 Tunisian time (20:27:56 GMT, 12:27:56 PT), a couple hours after the first reports that Tunisan president had left the country at around 9:30 PT. At the end of the cycle, total tweets mentioning Tunisia (including those using the #Tunisia hastag) were over 196K. Total tweets for #sidibouzid (the province where the protests started) were over 103K.

The total number of people mentioning Tunisia in tweets was over 50K, which was less than the 81K boasted by the recent #Lessambitious movies Twitter trend. Golda says this is probably because the latter was “more engaging, more participatory.”

According to Backtype, the top ten Tunisian related tweets were:

Voice of Freedom@Voiceoftunisia
Voice of Freedom

Tunisians too early for congratulations, we did not succeed yet. power is still in the corrupt RCD party. #sidibouzid #tunisia #jasminrevolt

January 14, 2011 10:53 am via webRetweetReply

Mona Eltahawy@monaeltahawy
Mona Eltahawy

Every #Arab leader is watching #Tunisia in fear. Every Arab citizen is watching Tunisia in hope and solidarity. #Sidibouzid.

January 13, 2011 10:39 am via webRetweetReply

Fouad Alfarhan@alfarhan
Fouad Alfarhan

الجزيرة تقول أن بن علي متجه لدولة خليجية! ريتويت إذا كنت سعودي وترفض تقذير وطننا بإستضافة فرعون تونس الفار #sidibouzid #tunisia #BenAli

January 14, 2011 12:40 pm via Twitter for iPadRetweetReply


Follow Tweets from Tunisia through search.twitter.com so that If you’re in Chrome you can use Google’s Auto Translate: http://t.co/QMmYNYH

January 13, 2011 1:50 pm via webRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia’s President Ben Ali steps down amid ongoing protests and leaves the country

January 14, 2011 9:52 am via TweetDeckRetweetReply

Sultan Al Qassemi@SultanAlQassemi
Sultan Al Qassemi

BREAKING NEWS: Al Jazeera Tunisian dictator Ben Ali has left Tunis and Tunisian Parliament Speaker Fuad Mbazaa has taken power

January 14, 2011 9:27 am via webRetweetReply

Dima Khatib أنا ديمة@Dima_Khatib
Dima Khatib أنا ديمة

I repeat. Situation in Tunisia is critical. Violence has spread amid chaos. Masked men like militias are attacking civilians #sidibouzid

January 14, 2011 2:40 pm via webRetweetReply

Breaking News@BreakingNews
Breaking News

Tunisian president Ben Ali has left country — @Alan Fisher of Al Jazeera reports http://bit.ly/fYZ7r3

January 14, 2011 9:33 am via breakingnews.comRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia parliament dissolved

January 14, 2011 7:38 am via twitterfeedRetweetReply

CNN Breaking News@cnnbrk
CNN Breaking News

President of #Tunisia dissolves government. http://on.cnn.com/dRGcXP

January 14, 2011 7:27 am via webRetweetReply

It’s interesting to note that only three of the top tweets are from a mainstream media source (only one from the US), four (including @alfarhan’s) are breaking the news of Ben Ali’s departure and two are breaking the news of the dissolution of Parliament. The most retweeted account, @VoiceofTunisa with its 496 followers, was retweeted over 400 times.

The top sites being shared on Twitter relating to Tunisia were:

1. facebook.com
2. bbc.co.uk
3. guardian.co.uk
4. youtube.com
5. english.aljazeera.net
6. liveword.ca
7. nytimes.com
8. cnn.com
9. twitpic.com
10. news.yahoo.com

The fact that Facebook, like Twitter, sees an increase of activity around times of political change and facilitated communication between activists this time around explains its appearance at the top of the leaderboard here. More active international media like the Guardian, the BBC and Al Jazeera round out the top five. The first US-based traditional media source, The New York Times comes after the Liveword.ca blog at number seven.

Since we spend so much time on the sites ourselves, there is a tendency for bloggers and reporters to be myopic when it comes to the use of Twitter in mediating significant events. Because news about Tunisia saturated our Twitter streams, it can seem like Twitter played a crucial role in instigating the news itself.

And while the jury is still out on just how much tweets can influence something as monumental as the fall of a government, it is worth noting that the critical mass of Tunisia related activity on Twitter happened after Ben Ali fled.

Word cloud: Backtype

Source: A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

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