In the 1980s, the Fall of the Berlin wall was attributed to television.
In the 1990s, fax machines enabled the protests in Tianamen Square.
But today, in Egypt, it’s a Twitter revolution.
Internet social networking services like Twitter and Facebook have been the revolutionary tools of communications for protesters in Egypt.
According to Al Jezzera, as soon as Twitter, Facebook and Internet access was disrupted, Egyptian protesters resorted to low tech work arounds to get out the word, like fax machines, dial up modems and HAM radios. Clever protesters have been dictating their 140-character messages over landline telephones to friends outside Egypt who then transcribe them immediately on Twitter and send them out, (and back again) creating a landline to mobile device to landline “virtual Internet” relay that has been quickly keeping Egyptians informed.
Today, according to Reuters, Google Inc (GOOG.O) launched a special service to allow people in Egypt to send Twitter messages by dialing a phone number and leaving a voicemail, as Internet access continues to be cut off in the country during revolutionary anti-government protests.
The service, which Google said was developed with engineers from Twitter, allows people to dial a telephone number and leave a voicemail. The voicemail is automatically translated into a message that is sent on Twitter using the identifying tag #egypt.
Though Egypt blocked Twitter following the protests that erupted on January 25th, tweets about Egypt have surged in the days leading up to and after the start of the revolution that has rocked the world.
According to Sysomos, the number of tweets that contained the words “Egypt,” “Yemen,” or “Tunisia” increased more than tenfold after January 23rd: there were 122,319 tweets between January 16 and 23 containing these terms, and 1.3 million tweets between January 24 and January 30.
According to today’s SF Gate, in a blog co-written by Twitter founder Biz Stone on Twitter’s website, Twitter said that Egypt has to restore the tweets to the country, to allow the freedom of information to flow.