In a clear sign of how modern technology has shaped our world, Semiramis InterContinental, a hotel in Cairo, used Twitter to broadcast SOS messages around 2 A.M. last night from its Twitter handle @ICSEMIRAMIS. Guests of Semiramis InterContinental, located near Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square, became victims of clashes that have sparked between youths and police centered around the anniversary of Egypt’s Arab Spring two years ago.
About 40 vandals, armed with shotguns and knives, broke into the lobby and began destroying and looting shops.
Though it is reported that riot police were nearby, the hotel used Twitter to alert police and demonstrators to what was happening. The first tweet from @ICSEMIRAMIS read: “We r under attack and several thugs have entered the Semiramis ... We need help.”
Police forces arrived and dispersed the vandals about an hour after hotel employees alerted the Twittersphere to their distress. @ICSEMIRAMIS sent out a tweet indicating their safety about two hours after its initial SOS: “Special forces are on scene and handling the situation. Thank you to everyone for your help and speedy response to our SOS!”
Though, just in the last hour, the hotel has sent out tweets alerting social media that the same individuals have returned, and have tried breaking in again: “SOS: Same group as last night have surrounded #Semiramis attempting to breach all entrances. #Tahrir #Jan29 SEND HELP!”
In the seven years since Twitter was founded, it has gone from not only being a way to simply digest news, but has transformed into a global 911. — Jason Hahn
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