I'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