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 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.
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.