Ed Note. Twitter was an indispensable tool that allowed those of us around the world follow the historic events in Egypt in real time. For English speakers in the west, a handful of Twitter feeds became influential filters that shaped how we experienced and understood the uprising and the violent backlash. Chris Albon wrote this post on January 31, 2011–just six days after #Jan25 became as much a rallying cry as Twitter hashtag. It soon became one of our most popular posts of all time. I thought this would be a good opportunity to revisit this post as a thank you to these 12 Twitter users for helping us make sense of that historic moment.
The “January 25” protest in Egypt is setting itself up to be the one of the greatest moments of uprising since the fall of the Soviet Union. For the last 36 hours I have been unable to pry myself away from the computer, watching the Egyptian people take to the street in an attempt end the thirty-year regime of Hosni Mubarak. Pivotal moments of political change are rare, and personally I do not intend to miss one moment.
I am not an expert on Egypt. I have never been to the country and never had many personal connections there. Furthermore, with the exception of Al Jazeera English, cable television coverage of the protests has been sorely lacking. But, despite the fact that the Egyptian government has attempted to block internet access in the country, through the social media site Twitter I have been following the ups and downs of the protests in Egypt in near real-time. Below is a list of some of the best Twitter users to follow if you want to stay updated on the dramatic events in Egypt.
Evan Hill – An Al Jazeera journalist on the ground in Egypt, Evan has been a major source of on the ground updates and off-the-cuff analysis.
Gregg Carlstrom – A colleague of Evan Hill’s at Al Jazeera and a friend mine, Gregg arrived in the country last night and has been providing coverage around Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Sultan Al Qassemi – A much-respected columnist for The National and a critical bridge between Arabic language bloggers and Twitterers and the English-speaking world.
Mohamed ElBaradei – Dr. ElBaradei is the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is becoming the de facto leader of the protest movement in Egypt. While he has not updated his Twitter feed in a few days, when there is a major event you can bet he will post some comment there.
Hossam (Arabawy) – I do not know much about Hossam, except that for the past two days he has been a great source for information on the protests from an Egyptian perspective.
Shadi Hamid – The Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center, Hamid has been offering some of the most intelligent, measured analysis of the protests available anywhere, both on Al Jazeera English and Twitter.
Ben Wedeman – Wedeman has been CNN’s top correspondent in Cairo since 2009. He is a great source for solid and straightforward reporting on the protests since they started.
Sharif Kouddous – A journalist and producer, Kouddous is a great source for information on the ground in Cairo.
This list is by no means comprehensive. There are many other Twitter users providing valuable information and informed analysis on the protests in Egypt. I only hope my guide offers you a good place to start. Good luck.
UPDATE from Mark: A commenter wisely pointed out the lack of any women on this list and suggested we include the following.
Mona Eltahawy A journalist based in New York, described by Jezebel as “The woman explaining Egypt to the west.