TUNIS — Tunisia’s interim government was holding its first meeting since the ouster of the dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Moufida Tlatli, an internationally known Tunisian filmmaker, took her seat as culture minister. Two opposition leaders stepped aside to confer privately. The prime minister confided that he was still in touch with his old boss, Mr. Ben Ali, who had in fact left hoping to return again after a brief hiatus.
And then came the first policy dispute with the holdover members of the old ruling party, known as the R.C.D.: they objected that the new minister of youth and sports, the dissident blogger Slim Amamou, was not wearing a tie.
“The first conflict with the old RCD-ists,” Mr. Amamou, 33, told his 10,000 Twitter followers from the closed-door cabinet meeting, along with the rest of the fly-on-the-wall details reported above. “I like the minister of Justice,” he wrote on Twitter a few days later. “I am going to wear a tie just to please him.”
In the week since Mr. Ben Ali’s flight, Mr. Amamou has become a symbol inside the cabinet of the revolution’s roots in the online world of Twitter and Facebook. Before the advent of such networks, local outbursts of unrest here were quickly crushed. This time, the revolt flashed across the country as protesters shared video of their own demonstrations. Grainy cellphone images of a clash with the police in one town egged on the next.
Now Mr. Amamou’s idiosyncratic commentary on Twitter is telling the still-evolving story of the revolution’s early days and providing an important source of information about the new administration’s plans.
His news bulletins have included advance word that the prime minister would resign from his party, and that the education minister planned to reopen the schools. After four new ministers resigned Tuesday in protest of the continued role of the R.C.D., the French initials for the Constitutional Democratic Rally, Mr. Amamou wrote that the government planned to seek their return instead of replacing them.
Critics call him a self-aggrandizing sellout who is lending credibility to a phony revolution still guided by R.C.D. members who were close to Mr. Ben Ali. But Mr. Amamou, whose outspoken opposition to the government landed him in prison before Mr. Ben Ali’s flight, insists that he is in government only as a spy for the cause of transparency.
“I am in the government to have first hand info,” he wrote on Twitter recently. “Very important in our current info war. I am not here to build a career :).”
But with new protests every day calling for the full eradication of the old ruling party, the charges of collaboration can make him testy. “Shut up!” he told a critic recently via Twitter. “I am not a secretary of the government,” he wrote. “I am here to take action within the current government.”
Mr. Amamou, who owns a small computer programming company, identifies himself as part of the anticopyright Pirate Party.
He could not be reached for comment beyond his Twitter messages, but they have been abundant.
He mused, for example, about the skeptical reaction to his new position. “It is similar to an underground artist who signs with a major label and is criticized by the purists and the masses,” he wrote on Jan. 17.
But he has also defended the new government, arguing that the continued presence of members of the old ruling party — as Tunisia’s only party for decades, its members are the only ones with government experience — was essential to steer the country safely toward free elections.
“It is about governing a nation,” he wrote on Jan. 18. “I won’t be comfortable with a government of noobs like me,” he said, using slang for an inexperienced newcomer. “Compromise. No choice. Till elections.”
He posts mostly in French with some English and Arabic, his messages crimped by Twitter’s maximum 140-character limit into an argot of shorthand, abbreviations and emoticons.
He had begun before the revolution, posting on Twitter about his efforts to evade Tunisia’s pervasive online censorship and the secret police.
“I am at a friend’s house,” he wrote on Jan. 6. “The police are apparently looking for me.” A few posts later, his account went silent.
He was taken to the Interior Ministry prison, he said, where he was pressured to turn over passwords and other information about the online resistance. He was reportedly told that screams heard through a wall came from family members under torture. “I was not physically tortured,” he wrote, “psychologically, yes.”
Then, in Mr. Ben Ali’s final days, the president began to release political prisoners in a bid to placate the mounting unrest. “I am free,” Mr. Amamou posted on Jan. 13.
Mr. Ben Ali fled the next day. “I am surprised,” Mr. Amamou wrote dryly. “I can’t really find words.”
He wrote that he feared the militia loyal to Mr. Ben Ali and had sought protection of the military. Then, four days after his release from prison, another surprise bulletin: “I became minister of youth and sports.” Soon after, he added: “I will try to convince the other members of the cabinet to become Twitter members.”
Early last week, he wrote that he needed to ask directions to find his ministry, which organizes sports leagues and other youth activities. On Saturday morning, he wrote: “I will try to go to my ministry to work. I wish there will be demonstrations again.”
In a remarkable shift, the police, previously the enforcers of Mr. Ben Ali’s rule, organized a protest of their own on the city’s central artery, Bourguiba Boulevard. They wore red armbands in solidarity with the revolution, complained that Mr. Ben Ali and his family had put cronies in charge of the security forces and demanded a trade union that could negotiate for higher wages. Tunisians were stunned to see police officers, once silent and terrifying, complaining about their working conditions in interviews with Al Jazeera.
More details emerged on Saturday about efforts to investigate Mr. Ben Ali’s government. Taoufik Bouderbala, the official who will look into abuse allegations, said his inquiry would start with police forces “who opened fire on citizens.”
Outside of Tunisia, a Saudi Arabian and two Moroccans have joined the more than a dozen attempted self-immolations to take place in the region in imitation of the suicide that kicked off the Tunisian uprising. There were reports of protests citing the Tunisian example in Yemen. And The Associated Press said the police killed more than a dozen protesters in Algeria, where the opposition party draped a Tunisian flag over its balcony.
In asides, Mr. Amamou, too, has marveled at the pace of the changes sweeping him from prison to the cabinet. Not long after his appointment, he posted about a yogurt he just bought, noting that it would expire in less time than the four weeks it took to carry out the revolution.
“The most rapid revolution in history,” he wrote. “Because we are connected. Synchronized.”
USING SLANG FOR AN INEXPERIENCED NEWCOMER.