Last week Twitter announced that the most popular hashtag of 2011 was #Egypt. #Jan25, a marker for Twittersphere conversations about the revolution, was eighth on the list, just after #superbowl. Cairo and Egypt were also the most tweeted about places of the year.

The report reminded me of the following anecdote, which I reported in "The Instigators," as well as the broader point I tried to make to the journalists gathered for the GlobalPost / Open Hands Initiative fellowship in Cairo back in October: You never know who the newsmakers of tomorrow will be, let alone who will be influencing the direction of news coverage.

A week before the revolution, a 21yearold Cairo University student named Alya El Hosseiny was at home, sitting on her bed with her notebook computer, reading about Tunisia’s toppled dictator. She happened upon the Facebook event page for the January 25 demonstrations to be held in Cairo, and decided to post something about it on Twitter. “I looked around and couldn’t find an existing hashtag,” she told me later via email, referring to the handles that allow Twitter users to follow every post about a topic. “So I just made up something short and sweet. I thought it was temporary, until I found out everyone was using it”: #Jan25.
AuthorDavid Wolman