Citizen journalists - who played a key role in spreading word of the Iranian uprising - are now doing the same in Egypt as a wave of protests rocks the country. And one of the busiest citizen reporters on the streets of Cairo right now is 24-year-old Gigi Ibrahim.
Armed with little more than her Blackberry and a webcam, Ibrahim - who spent her high school years in California and recently earned a political science degree from the American University in Cairo - is on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Vimeo. She tweets and posts, shoots stills and video, all in an effort to chronicle the unrest.
In a Skype interview with The New York Times, Ibrahim said her role "is to be part of this wave of change. I tweet a lot while at the protests; I tell everybody the security situation, how many people are at protests. I'm trying to spread accurate information and paint a picture at the ground for people who aren't here, via Twitter and Facebook."
Ibrahim's smartphone lacks an Arabic keybord, but she said "a lot of my followers are from outside of Egypt. I want to try to use a language most everyone would understand. It's important for me to be a citizen journalist, because with our press here... not everything gets broadcast."
Still, on Friday at least, Ibrahim was managing to tweet fairly regularly. In one she wrote:
"All my social networks and sms working via phone but blocked on my laptop hmm isn't that opposite from everyone?"
Ibrahim told the Times social media sites like Twitter and Facebook were helpful tools. "They can spread mass amounts of information," she said. "But at the end of the day, if people don't decide to go to the streets ... nothing will happen."
Egyptians, she added, "are looking for an answer to the struggles they face in their daily lives."
Getty Images photo above: A protester faces riot police in Cairo.