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Even though Egypt is in the midst of an Internet and SMS blackout, the rest of the world is glued to the web, watching. Protesters and journalists have found ways around these roadblocks and are using social media to inform and organize.

Following #jan25 or #egypt on Twitter produces an amazing amount of results. By the time you read the first few, you’re already five hundred tweets behind. Many protesters are posting via proxy server, and some journalists are even using landlines to phone tweets back to their headquarters.

Even though Egypt is in the midst of an Internet and SMS blackout, the rest of the world is glued to the web, watching. Protesters and journalists have found ways around these roadblocks and are using social media to inform and organize.

Following #jan25 or #egypt on Twitter produces an amazing amount of results. By the time you read the first few, you’re already five hundred tweets behind. Many protesters are posting via proxy server, and some journalists are even using landlines to phone tweets back to their headquarters.

Some tweets are organizational, naming the times and places of marches. Others are informative, locating the worst violence. And some, perhaps the most unexpected, contain practical advice for posters: “tunsians say to use coca cola on the face to protect from tear gas and do not swallow the spray.”

After work spread of tear gas canisters bearing the words, “Made in USA,” another Twitterer pointed out the irony of the situation: “security forces using US ammunitions to get rid of protesters, who use Coca Cola to stop effects of tear gas. Irony?”

With this constant flow of information, people around the world have an insider view that conventional means, such as television, radio and newspapers, could never provide. It’s unfiltered, instant information that’s fascinating to follow.

What’s even more intriguing is how the tweets have evolved over the day. In the morning, angry, aggressive tweets dominated the internet. But as time went on, rays of hope poked through the chaos:

“Aljazeera English reports that youth are linking arms, forming a human shield around Cairo Museum to keep it from being looted”

“In chaos, there is order: Egyptian rioters help an injured policeman in Cairo: http://tumblr.com/xed1daq5k0”

With traditional media, you would never feel this involved. And even though most people are physically removed from the situation, these extraordinary social media efforts make it impossible to ignore.

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