It’s hard not to be amazed what is happening in Iran, on multiple counts.
One is the up-rising of the youth that has quickly spread and now has the country on the brink of revolution. The spectre of another dictatorship, suppressing the people, ignoring the will of the voters and, ultimately head-longing the nation into years of war and tyranny has catapulted citizens into action. And, hopefully, it’s just getting started.
For the country, it’s perhaps a thankful shift in topic from nuclear arms and war to social change and freedom of information. And, democracy.
But perhaps even more stunning is the impact that Twitter is having, this time not on celebrity narcissism (Ashton Kutcher’s self-promotion on CNN looks even more banal now), but on the future of a country and its people; absolutely riveting to watch and certainly a milestone in world history. This is the first time that a technology such as Twitter (and Facebook too) have been available in such extraordinary circumstances.
No longer is it just about weapons. It’s increasing about information. Access to it. Dissemination of it. Even if only 140-characters at a time. The messages travel virtually instantaneously to millions of supporters around the world. Meantime, a government, looking dated and tiresome resorts to the standard dictatorship approach to technology: by attempting to shut it down. But social networking is not a giant tank you disable. It’s millions of intelligent electrons moving at warp speed, charged with meaning, available with the smallest of devices using the most invisible of airwaves.
Ultimately the Iranian government will resort to violence, threatening death to protesters as it is already, to the disgust of the rest of the world. Prehistoric thinking vs. freedom of the youth, the people and future devoid of ceaseless war-mongering leadership.
I know SSC is not CNN or The Huffington Post, and many would expect another fun travel video or interview (and there’s a lot more coming!), but I couldn’t help but revel in this moment unfolding before us.
Closer to home here in Silicon Valley, Twitter announced it would postpone maintenance to the system (which would cause outages) so that it would not cause disruptions to the Iranian protesters. Co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post “Our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.”
Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll hear about social networking and Web 2.0 technologies impacting global events on a massive scale. Interesting, anxious times — especially for Iranians.
Note: there is a good counter perspective to my views on The Huffington Post by Andy Ostroy, The Revolution Will Not Be Twitterized.