Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Twitter Revolution?

When it comes to the intersection between social media and the Iranian election protests, green-tinted Twitter avatars are but a tiny side-alley (see previous post). What is truly remarkable is the huge role Twitter, YouTube videos, Facebook accounts and even the status line in Gmail's Chat box appear to have played in the unfolding of events and the near-instant breaking of news. In the next couple of days I'll look to post something more to that effect here, even if it's only a collection of links to people with far more useful things to say than I have. For now, though - and I never thought I'd write this - The Sunday Times has a good piece on just that subject. And all credit to Andrew Sullivan for eating his words:

Twitter ripped the veil off 'the other' – and we saw ourselves

New media allowed the world to connect with the Tehran rebels

Andrew Sullivan

It was not, to put it mildly, a new technology I found impressive. Twitter, the social networking website, allows for only a tiny number of characters to be broadcast in each "tweet", or message, and much of the early tweeting was being done by bored teens or Hollywood celebrities: the illiterate speaking to the impatient.


Well, the last laugh is on me. As I have spent the past week hunched over a laptop, channelling and broadcasting as much information, video and debate about the momentous events in Iran, nothing quite captured the mood and pace of events like the tweets coming from the people of Iran.

With internet speed deliberately slowed to a crawl by the Iranian authorities, brevity and simplicity were essential. To communicate, they tweeted. Within hours of the farcical election result, I tracked down a bunch of live Twitter feeds and started to edit and rebroadcast them as a stream of human consciousness on the verge of revolution.

To go to the full article click here.

[Link included above - to Andrew Sullivan's extensive blogging on Iran, for The Atlantic - not included in original piece].

A couple of other sources:

- As you would expect, Mashable, 'The Social Media Guide', has been providing coverage of the social media angle on Iran's 'Twitter Revolution' and their posts can be found here (the first link in that sentence goes to a New York Times analysis of Twitter's potential as a revolutionary tool).

- A number of the major stories have been covered by the BoingBoing blog, under their CIVLIB, INTERNATIONAL, and POLITICS tags; most of the posts also carry links to previous BoingBoing posts.

N.B. Thanks to @HeidiHigh for most of these links.

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