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I’m thrilled to welcome Holly Ross, our newest guest blogger. Holly has spent seven+ years at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), working with community members to identify technology trends —  from ubiquitous access to technology leadership — that will reshape the nonprofit sector. Full Disclosure: I’m an NTEN board member and a huge fan.

“Social media is not a megaphone, it’s a conversation.” You’ve doubtlessly heard this phrase uttered at dozens of conference sessions and read it in many blog posts. Although that’s the first lesson most of us learned about social media, it’s been the hardest to implement. Having a “conversation” with people you may not know very well, on a platform you’re not entirely comfortable with, isn’t easy to pull off. It’s a skill that has to be developed.
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Guest Blogger on September 1, 2011 in Social Media | 2 comments
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Twitter Emerges as Best Rapid-Fire News Source in Post-Election Iran Media VacuumI've continued to ponder the value of tweeting — even as I do it — but see clearly its unique value in getting news out of Iran (and organized protest going on the scene) when the more traditional lines (Internet, phone have been shut down). Here's a partial list of folks tweeting out of Iran right now (thanks to Alison Fine).

Iranians appalled at what seems to be a blatantly fraudulent election are angry, and putting Twitter to work when there are few channels available. As dissent grew on the streets, media and Twitter reports said mobile phone communication in Iran was jammed and internet access was blocked or slow. It is also reported that electricity has been cut. But determined to get their message out, online protesters within Iran are constantly uploading information about open proxies which avoid the government filters to their twitter feeds.

As Information Week's Michael Hickins reminds us, it's Iranians — not the Twitter tool — who have generated the just-announced vote investigation. Iranian citizens are participating, and Twitter is simply their means of doing so, as Andrew Sullivan comments:

The key force behind this is the next generation, the Millennials, who elected Obama in America and may oust Ahmadinejad in Iran. They want freedom; they are sick of lies; they enjoy life and know hope.

What better tool for doing those wishing to control their own lives, and experiences, than short and sweet Twitter? As Hickins says:

Twitter is what people make of it; this is perhaps the single greatest distinguishing feature of Web 2.0 as a whole, and the biggest single gift we bequeath to the Millenials — as users, we control our own experience. We follow or block whom we want, and we join or leave groups at will. Twitter doesn't make us better people (nor does it make us worse).

The messenger, not the network or tool, is the message! Take that, Marshall McLuhan.

Flickr: John McNab

Nancy Schwartz on June 15, 2009 in Nonprofit Communications, Web 2.0 | 1 comment
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