Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Breakout Role for Twitter

Twitter took on a new role yesterday as street clashes rocked Istanbul. It replaced the traditional media, which was almost non-existent, in spreading information about the demonstration. During the Egyptian revolution, the majority of the tweets came from outside the country, according to this story from Monkey Cage.  In Turkey, by contrast, over 50% came from inside Istanbul and over 80% were in Turkish, meaning that they were written for Turkish consumption, not for the outside world. 

Monkey Cage says that "the social media response to and the role of social media in the protests has been phenomenal." They report over 2 million tweets relating to the demonstrations since late afternoon yesterday. Why? The reason for the phenomenal number of tweets is related to the lack of coverage of the demonstrations by the Turkish media.

What  this trend suggests," Monkey Cage notes, "is that Turkish protesters are replacing the traditional reporting with crowd-sourced accounts of the protest expressed through social media."   Here is a another news story about the protests and the role of twitter in spreading the news from The New Yorker Magazine.  And here is a link to a Reuters slideshow showing the police crackdown on the protests.  Thanks to Michael J. Altman for tweeting the link to this story.

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