Speak-to-Tweet Reopens Twitter to Egyptian Protesters
Google, Twitter and SayNow have launched a "speak-to-tweet" service to enable people in Egypt to tweet even in the midst of the Internet blackout there.
"Like many people, we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground. Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection," Ujjwal Singh, co-founder of SayNow, and Abdel Karim Mardini, Google's product manager in the Middle East and North Africa, wrote on Google's blog today (Feb. 1).
The service is up and running. Anyone can tweet by leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers: +16504194196 (US) or +390662207294 (Italy) or +97316199855 (Bahrain). The service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required.
People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet. Click on the link in the tweet to hear voice messages played individually on SayNow on any Internet-connected device.
Through this afternoon in Egypt, more than 750 tweets had been posted and the Twitter Speak To Tweet page had around 8,000 followers. Many of the voice mails through speak2tweet were in Egyptian. Small World News launched a page, Alive in Egypt, that transcribes the speak2tweet messages to Egyptian and English.
The government announced it would shut down mobile phone service in an effort to disrupt communication during the million-man marches under way in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, but tweets indicated mobile phone service remained largely intact.
Night has fallen on Egypt and as many as 2 million protesters say they will not leave Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo until President Hosni Mubarak leaves office. As the demonstration was broadcast live on Al Jazeera English TV, protests remained peaceful. The military has stated it will not harm protesters.
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