On January 27, 2011, during the first days of Egypt’s uprising, the national government shut down the Internet to quash online dissent. To circumvent the blackout, programmers developed Speak2Tweet, a digital platform that allowed Egyptians to record voice messages by phone. Composed of thousands of audio recordings from those volatile days, these messages were automatically uploaded to Twitter, producing a unique archive of the collective Egyptian psyche during a time of unprecedented upheaval.
On the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian internet shutdown, Abdelkarim Mardini, the co-developer of Speak2Tweet, Middle East media scholar Adel Iskandar, and artist Heba Y. Amin revisit the importance of Speak2Tweet. They ask what impact advances in communication technologies have had on the freedom of speech, dissent, and democracies worldwide? And what can be gleaned today from listening to these unrestrained voices recorded a decade ago?
Image: Still from Project Speak2Tweet (2011) Heba Y Amin.