Since the beginning of the uprisings in the Arab world, Andy Carvin, senior strategist at NPR, has become a consistent presence on Twitter as he has embarked on a startling new experiment: finding the truth via social media.
Carvin now has close to 70,000 Twitter followers and has sent more than 130,000 Tweets. But when he first joined Twitter in 2007, he didn’t know what to do with it. It wasn’t until a year later when he was looking around Twitter while waiting for a plane and heard rumours about Benazir Bhutto’s death that he began to use it to collect and verify news. “It was the first time I realized that Twitter could be used for real time reporting,” he said at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.
He then went on to use Twitter in his job at NPR, where the public service broadcaster used Twitter to seek out listeners and readers who were keen to help fact-check.
Carvin started to tweet about the revolutions in the Arab world because he had already been to Tunis and met several Tunisian bloggers, and through them he started to see the #sidibouzid hashtag appear and wondered what it meant. He began to use his network to help both gather and translate information.