Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran and the internet: The Mouse That Roared

Not only roar, but "twitter" too! Iran's tech-savy youth have taken full advantage of the internet to organize and communicate during this uprising of protest.

Iran's Twitter Revolution
Forget CNN or any of the major American "news" networks. If you want to get the latest on the opposition protests in Iran, you should be reading blogs, watching YouTube or following Twitter updates from Tehran, minute-by-minute. [...]

If you read the whole thing, it has a link to a list of Iranian bloggers who are on the scene and reporting in.

Pat told me over dinner that Twitter was supposed to shut down to do some maintenance to their servers, but they postponed that because the Iranians are relying on the service so heavily right now.

When Twitter first became available, I didn't think much of it. "What's it FOR? Of what practical use is it?" I thought. Well, I guess I have my answer now.

EDITORIAL: Iran's Twitter revolution
[...] Tehran's authoritarian leaders clearly were caught off-guard. They had managed to take down the telephone system opposition supporters used for texting but for some reason were slow to eliminate other social media. As open defiance of the election results broke out, citizen journalists used new media to spread the word. And the whole Web was watching.

Iran is a highly computer-literate society with a large number of bloggers and hackers. The hackers in particular were active in helping keep channels open as the regime blocked them, and they spread the word about functioning proxy portals. Hackers also reportedly took down Mr. Ahmadinejad's Web site in an act of cyberdisobedience.

The immediacy of the reports was gripping. Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime's Net crackdown. Eventually the regime started taking down these sources, and the e-dissidents shifted to e-mail. The only way to completely block the flow of Internet information would have been to take the entire country offline, a move the regime apparently has resisted thus far.

There seems to be no shortage of video cameras in Iran. The footage that has emerged is raw, unedited and dramatic. [...]

The videos are dramatic, and plentiful. This is a real 21st century uprising. Perhaps evolving into a revolution? We shall see.

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