The Revolution Is Only A Twit Away

The election protests in Iran have become a revolt for freedom fueled by the support garnered through social media - Twitter in particular. Seems the government and the clerics of Iran do not realize what the Chinese have grasped - the social media are dangerous - they foster freedom.

Twitter, once again has shown out to be a powerful tool in the dissemination of information. First we have seen how it has helped with sharing of information of natural disasters and fast breaking news. Now it is gaining more publicity for its ability to unite the world in support of a movement.

The pictures and videos coming out of a country that has arrested 24 journalists so far have been transmitted largely through Twitter. YouTube has helped with the videos of innocents killed.

The mainstream media are looking for ways around the restrictions and Twitter seems to be their main tool.

As CNN reported the use of smart phones has become the magic sword. "The phone is the seminal device on the ground in Iran," Clay Shirky noted on the show. The journalists in this situation are no longer about degrees on the wall but measured by what they hear and what they see.

Shirkey has been touting the power of Twitter and social media for some time as can be seen in this video at TED.

The global protest has developed some interesting methods of support. The greening of twitter avatars is similar to the blackout of avatars used to draw attention to censorship issues in New Zealand.

Sites have sprung up with images and songs of support. A forum - Anonymous Iran - giving help to the protesters with the tagline "Even if a ballot is silenced, the voice behind it cannot be" is giving a portal for information to the people inside and outside the country. It is interestiungly part of a larger protest portal Why We Protest.

The power of Twitter is growing and no doubt its value as a far reaching tool beyond what it initially was developed for is becoming more obvious. While China saw the risk of its influence and fought against it with the Great Firewall - if the Iran freedom rally is successful Twitter will become a powerful medium and the 140 character revolution will become part of the mythology of the web.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.