Grad Student Uses Twitter To Get Released From Egyptian Prison
from the twitter-pr-people-must-be-thrilled dept
Recently, Tim wrote about how aspects of Twitter could represent the future of news, and it appears that may be happening faster than some people expected. In a story that must absolutely thrill any PR person working for Twitter, a UC Berkeley grad student who was filming protests in Egypt was able to alert his friends to the fact he was arrested by Egyptian police through a message on Twitter. This resulted in a coordinated effort to get him released, which eventually involved the US State Department. You get the feeling that this story will move into PR legend like the story of the guy who self-diagnosed a heart attack using Google.
Still, it is a rather remarkable example of how Twitter can be quite useful. While there are plenty of people (myself included at one point) who wrote off the service as being rather useless, it’s been evolving in very interesting ways. For those who embrace it, it can become a rather useful quick and easy public messaging and conversation tool. While, James Karl Buck could have sent a text message to a friend, the simplicity and public nature of Twitter allowed him to alert a lot of people nearly instantly to the situation he was in — and they responded. Not only did they reach out to get help, they also quickly responded to James on Twitter, providing advice on how to deal with the fact that he was arrested. Still, what’s not entirely clear in this whole story is how he was able to continue to use his mobile phone while under arrest. While the lesson some may learn from this is that arresting officers will quickly take people’s mobile phones away, that doesn’t lessen the impact of a service like Twitter and its ability to spread a message to a lot of friends and acquaintances extremely quickly.