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Twitter's 2011 - the news in tweets

Twitter's reputation for breaking news is well established, but momentous tweets can be lost in the noise. We take a look at some of the most significant stories of the year where Twitter played a part


  1. February - Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim became an unexpected icon of the uprising in Egypt tweeting and posting his opposition to the regime on Facebook. His updates stopped when he disappeared into police custody for 12 days. On his release he tweeted:
  2. He gave this emotional interview to privately-owned Egyptian channel Dream TV about his detention:
  3. Egypt activist Wael Ghonim tells TV station: 'I am no hero' - video
  4. True to form, the online activist greeted the resignation of Hosni Mubarak with a tweet:
  5. May - little did IT consultant Sohaib Athar (aka @reallyvirtual) know when he tweeted:
  6. That he was witnessing something even more significant than he imagined:
  7. The news was confirmed to a wider audience via Twitter by Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff, Navy Reserve officer Keith Urbahn:
  8. July - as word spread around newsrooms that former News of the World editor and former head of communications for the Conservative party Andy Coulson had been arrested, the question was: which police station had he been taken to?
  9. On Twitter, Coulson was reportedly spotted entering a station in south London -  the original tweet from @RosettaStone57 no longer seems to be online, but the information was later confirmed by reporters:
  10. August - Londoners used Twitter and Facebook to mobilise groups of volunteers to help clean up the streets following nights of rioting in the city and elsewhere in the UK. The operation, tagged #riotcleanup, was started shortly after midnight on Monday 8 August by Dan Thompson (@artistsmakers) and by 10am Monday, the tag was the top trending topic in the UK, and the second worldwide.
  11. November - A tweet of a different kind made the news in November - an update that our technology editor nominated for tweet of the year:
  12. What have we missed? Tweet your suggestions to @guardian and we'll update this Storify.

    An update from our followers on Twitter:
  13. October - Thanks to Ciaran for pointing out this story, as reported by the Irish Times, about a tweet that was claimed to have changed the course of the Irish presidential election: