by Larry Magid
Internet service in Egypt is now totally shut down and there are reports that cell phone service has again been cut, but that won’t stop people from finding ways to reach out and express themselves.
One creative solution is from engineers at Google, Twitter and SayNow, a company that Google recently acquired, who have created a way for people from Egypt to Tweet via landline.
According to the Google blog, “Anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required.”
In addition to leaving Tweets, you can call that number and listen, though unlike accessing Twitter on a computer or phone, there isn’t a way to selectively hear only from people you follow. You can listen and read tweets here but many are in Arabic and not properly transcribed. Click here for an audio sample of a couple of tweets that are in English.
This is, of course, only one of several creative ways that people can use to get around the Egyptian government’s attempt to shut down communciations. Some people are connecting by using old fashioned dial-up modems to dial into other countries, others are using satellite equipment and some are accessing the Internet via ham radio equipment.