Data / Original Data

Data Share: Logged Number of Tweets on #egypt, by Location

Here are the aggregated numbers for daily tweets of #egypt at a critical moment during the Egyptian uprising of early 2011.  This information is analyzed in the report Howard, Philip N., and Aiden Duffy, Deen FreelonMuzammil Hussain, Will Mari, and Marwa Mazaid. “Opening Closed Regimes: What Was the Role of Social Media During the Arab Spring?” Project on Information Technology and Political Islam Data Memo 2011.1. Seattle: University of Washington, 2011.  It is from Figure 4: Logged Number of Tweets on #egypt, by Location.



From the discussion of this figure:

Events in Egypt not only helped to spark protest movements in neighboring countries, they also seeded a global conversation about the politics of freedom. Twitter was used to draw the international community into Egyptian events. Real-time conversations about protester turnout, regime response, and Mubarak’s political options did not just occur between Egyptians. Figure 4 tracks the active number of Twitter users contributing to the primary hashtag associated with the freedom movement in Egypt.

We find that as domestic and international pressure for Mubarak to resign was building, there was an interesting shift in the geolocation data of people Tweeting about political change in Egypt. Two weeks prior to his resignation, we find that 34 percent of the Tweets on the topic of political change in Egypt were coming from people who self-identified as being outside the region entirely. But as public engagement with political protest grew in the week prior to his resignation, the relative contribution of outsiders dwindled to just 12 percent.

In other words, the vast majority of Tweets were coming from people who were either in country, in the region, or had refused to give their location information (a common strategy for political protesters). The regime’s interference with digital networks interrupted online traffic on some days. Yet in-country Twitter traffic peaked on the day street protests reached into the thousands and then peaked again during the last days of Mubarak’s hold on power. Over time the number of Egyptians in Egypt Tweeting about politics surpassed the number Tweeting from elsewhere in the region.

Notes: Outside Region refers to Twitter profiles that had locations outside both the country and the region, and No Location refers to profiles that either had no location data or have been deleted or suspended since archiving began. The blue bar indicates the period in which journalists began reporting that protests had reached the level of thousands of participants.

Here is the spreadsheet behind this figure.  Unfortunately there are some issues related to sharing the raw Twitter data, and my collaborator Deen Freelon has done a blog post on changes in Twitter’s terms of service.  Please read this before contacting him about raw data.

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