June 21, 2009

Twitter on the Barricades in Iran: Six Lessons Learned

21cohen.1901.jpg Does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two mass protests in a matter of months -— in Moldova in April and in Iran last week - oversell the technology? The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSkeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means — individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites — were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion.

As the Iranian government restricts journalists’ access to events, the protesters have used Twitter’s agile communication system to direct the public and journalists alike to video, photographs and written material related to the protests. (As has become established custom on Twitter, users have agreed to mark, or “tag,” each of their tweets with the same bit of type — #IranElection — so that users can find them more easily). So maybe there was no Twitter Revolution.

But over the last week, we learned a few lessons about the strengths and weaknesses of a technology that is less than three years old and is experiencing explosive growth.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Image above: SHADISHD173/TWITPIC, via Agence France-Presse - Getty Images, NY Times.

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