The revolution is being live-tweeted, and if you are a news junkie like me, you want the latest information quicker than CNN or the New York Times can get it to you. The information is out there, available in English and in real time. I sat up late last night, watching my Middle East/North Africa list live-tweet Gaddafi’s forces flouting the cease-fire and assassinating Mohammed Nahbous, a citizen journalist:
Activists, journalists and everyone, really, are using Twitter (along with Flickr and YouTube) to share events in real time. Andy Carvin, an NPR strategist, makes it his business to curate the firehose of tweets coming from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Follow him to get started, and you’ll soon find yourself following people like @Ghonim, @JustAmira and @LibyansRevolt, all sharing real time news and events in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya, respectively.
If you’ve foresworn Twitter, though, you still have excellent resources to get news quickly and authentically:
- Al Arabiya – Dubai-based and Saudi-funded news website
- Al Jazeera English – Watch live stream of the television news on the website or “like” them on Facebook
- Libya February 17 – Live blog posting updates on events in Libya
From a philosophical point of view, communication, media and democracy are fundamentally changed when people across the world are communicating directly with each other through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. No longer do we depend on the New York Times or CNN (or whoever) to find the information and present it to us – because we can get it ourselves.
This democratization of information is not at the expense of the valuable analysis, synthesis and opinion offered by professional journalists. Their role is essential, but different than it was 20 years ago. We have a unique opportunity to understand current events in the first person, to connect with our peers around the world and to amplify their voices. To ensure they do not go unheard. May the revolution be live-tweeted.