1 February 2011

Genie out of the bottle

"Social technology breaks the Egyptian Internet blockade" reports Hexus Channel in a fascinating real-life illustration of how fast the Internet can respond to changing situations and the power of rapid response crowd-sourcing.

Google acquired a company called SayNow last week [!] that specialises in integrating voice with social media. Armed with its new acquisition, Google collaborated with Twitter to produce a simple solution for anyone to publish a voicemail message to the Internet. All you need to do is call +16504194196, +390662207294 or +97316199855, say what you've got to say, and the message is automatically tweeted on @speak2tweet. Of course many of those messages are in Arabic, but TNW has written about an apparently spontaneous bit of crowdsourcing, in which volunteers are collaborating via a Google Doc spreadsheet to transcribe the messages in Arabic and translate them into English.
As Scott observes, "as an illustration of the power of the Internet as a medium for the unrestricted distribution of information, and of the futility of trying to shut that stable door after the horse bolted decades ago, this is a cool story".


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