Egypt Protests & Social Media: Film Project Using Twitter & YouTube

Most people will be aware of the recent protests and demonstrations in Egypt which finally lead to President Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak standing down but some of you may not be aware of how much social media played a part in the uprising. Now a filmmaker, who noted what a huge part social media played in the events that unfolded, plans to make a film using content from Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

At OSM we reported many times on the role of social media in the Egyptian protests and just some of our stories included the Internet being shut down by the government, how some social media outlets offered a way round that for the people of Egypt and also how hackers struck Egyptian government websites. The idea for the film, using social media for content, came from Jigar Mehta who watched the jubilant celebrations in Tahir Square on January 25 and spotted that many people in the crowd were using their mobile phones to record the historic scenes, according to Sarah Kessler over on Mashable.

Mehta’s project evolves around “participatory reporting,” as he dubs it, and his aim is to create a crowd-sourced documentary about the protests and the ultimate outcome. The project #18DaysInEgypt, will use the YouTube, Twitter and Flickr content that people recorded and asks people to label the content with specific tags. This content will then be compiled into an interactive narrative. Mehta said about his project, “We all know what happened at the end, but there are a lot of interesting turns that this story took. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg of what was shot during those 18 days.”

For a really informative in-depth look at how social media is playing a part in the current unrest in the Arab world, check out an article by Peter Beaumont on The Guardian which looks into whether social networking can really overthrow a government and also the use of the web by activists. What are your thoughts on the #18DaysInEgypt project? You may also be interested in how one proud father named his new baby girl “Facebook” in honor of the social networking site’s role. Do you think the role of social media during the protests has been over-hyped or maybe you think it did play a critical role? Let us know with your comments.