UC Berkeley graduate journalism student James Karl Buck was arrested last week in Egypt for photographing a demonstration – and although the Egyptian police took most of his equipment – they simply weren’t thinking about Twitter:
Buck, 29, a former Oakland Tribune multimedia intern, used the ubiquitous short messaging service to tap out a single word on his cellular phone: ARRESTED. The message went out to the cell phones and computers of a wide circle of friends in the United States and to the mostly leftist, anti-government bloggers in Egypt who are the subject of his graduate journalism project.
The next day, he walked out a free man with an Egyptian attorney hired by UC Berkeley at his side and the U.S. Embassy on the phone.
This is just one of several recent examples of this sort of usage of the social media tool Twitter – I expect that we’ll see much more of this type of utilization during the two political conventions this summer in the United States.