Andy Carvin on Twitter During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolution


During the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution, social media played a big part in distributing information from the ground of those particular riots and demonstrations, so the public and journalists (away from the scenes) could know everything that was going on. It worked particularly well and showed how powerful social media tools are today. 

Andy Carvin, a senior strategist at NPR, used Twitter as his newsroom during the Arab Spring. Alfred Hermida, Seth C.Lewis and Rodrigo Zamith wrote a study on Andy Carvin’s use of sources from Twitter.

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Carvin describes his Twitter network as:

” my editors, researcher and fact-checkers. You’re my newsroom” (Carvin, 2012 in Sourcing the Arab Spring, A Case Study of Andy Carvin’s Sources on Twitter During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions).

Andy Carvin was well known at the time and was used by other newspapers for his information, which a lot of it he received by non-elite sources. This in some terms, is totally against any traditional rules of journalism, but hey it worked!

“Through Twitter, Carvin would often link to images from demonstrators, curate a range of discussion and opinion about events, and frequently ask his followers (then about 50,000 strong) to help him make sense of the bits of information he encountered.” (Hermida, Lewis & Zamith, 2012)

When I interviewed Alfred Hermida, he spoke about the study he co-authored:

“We analysed who he was quoting, so who were his sources and basically what we found is that by and large most of the people he quoted were mostly activists, so if you were following him for news on the Middle East, you really were getting the activists perspective above everything else. Of course a lot of journalists were following him to follow what was happening on Twitter and what was happening on the Arab Spring. The activists were around a quarter of his sources, but they made up about half of his quotes. And the majority of the time, every other word you were reading was from an activist, you then get a certain perspective about what was happening on the street and then that is going to change the story you tell.” (Interview with Alfred Hermida, 05/12/12.)

This particular quote then questions whether Twitter is the driver of news. In this particular case it shows that Twitter can drive how the news is reported, however on the other hand other factors arise from this such as, was this what the audience wanted to hear of democratic uprising? But then again it does then point out the question does it sort of point to this, how can twitter influence and shape the news agenda.


Posted on December 10, 2012, in Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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