I was followed by a journalism student on Twitter who asked me for an interview a few weeks ago on my methods for tweeting. A few quotes:
Social media has been a big part of the Arab revolution in the Middle East. Not only for the protesters, but for journalists too who are following the riots online and report on what they see. “The greatest advantage of it is that you get the news a lot faster, and straight from the sources, unfiltered”, says journalist Yasmine El Rafie.
“I started following people I have met personally on Twitter, such as Wael Abbas and Mona El Tahawy. Then I moved on to well-known and respected ones such as Sandmonkey, Manal and Alaa, Dima Khatib and Sultan Qassemi, Arabist. Journalists for large networks such as CNN, BBC and AJE get a carte blanche. I just kept adding people they retweeted”, she says.”
I slightly fear the interview is too favourable towards me. Things change rapidly. Covering and trying to only RT information that I could source evaluate on my own was one thing with Egypt – protests were mainly concentrated to a fixed location and veteran tweeps try to stick to facts and not misusing words such as “breaking” and “confirmed” after years of practice. It was also easier to keep the 200-300 that I followed back then in my head, to know who had proven reliable, keep track of who was on the move and where, which ones that knew each other or not, and so forth.
When things moved on to Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Syria just to mention a few it got unmanageable. I still believe that setting up and moderating good coverage and twitter streams of several countries; separating confirmed facts, rumours, reactions, pictures and links into different streams is doable – but not by someone having a limited amount of energy, trying to do this in her spare time without some kind of technically advanced platform.