Visualizing the Egyptian Revolution

Two visualizations strive to shed light upon the Egyptian uprising that began on 25 January 2011 and demanded the overthrow of the regime of Hosni Mubarak. While they take a different view, both pair the happenings with the reactions of people on the web.

Internet Traffic Timeline

The team of Chartbeat have put together 2011 Egyptian Revolution, a timeline view on the explosion of internet traffic during the revolution. The data driving this visualization is concurrent traffic on Al Jazeera’s english website, which was one of the most important sources of news about the revolution in Egypt.

The 18 days of the revolution are shown on a horizontal timeline and the traffic is shown as a time series for days with major happenings. As a descriptive addition you can toggle important events during the day to see the resulting traffic spikes. The visualization is built using purely HTML, CSS and a little Javascript and is also available as a static PNG version.

Retweet Network

André Panisson used Gephi, an open source visualization application to visualize Retweets with the hashtag #jan25 posted on February 11 2011 during the announcement of Mubarak’s resignation. Nodes are Twitter users, and the edges represent a retweeted status update. In the time lapse video below, we can clearly see the massive amount of Retweets spreading right after the announcement.

As a fun fact, André explains that the data set came together by chance:

I tried some interesting hashtags to see it working, and at the moment #jan25 seemed to be an active hashtag. I let the application run for some time, adjusted some parameters for visualization, and at some point there was a burst in the activity. I didn’t understood what was happening until I checked again my Twitter account and realized that the Egypt’s vice-president had just made the resignation announcement. After it, I proceeded collecting data, and the final result was this network. It was very interesting to see, in real time, the exact moment when Tahrir Square, from a mass protest demonstration, has been transformed in a giant party, and the burst in the Twitter’s activity. It was like covering in real time a virtual event, a big event that was happening in the Twitter virtual world.

Read more about the visualization and download the dataset that drives it here: The Egyptian Revolution.

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