Iran and the Internet

It amazes me that things are still happening to make me think the Internet is more important than I already thought it was.

On Saturday I became aware significant things were happening in Iran, when I saw posts by Iranian-Americans who happen to be my Facebook friends, expressing horror at the failure of the U.S. TV networks to cover what was going on. Immediately I went to Andrew Sullivan's blog and got up to speed -- in times of crisis, one suddenly realizes which news sources one actually trusts. Juan Cole's blog also delivered -- these were sites I hadn't even visited that recently, but they were the first places I went to for analysis of the crisis, and they didn't disappoint. My Iranian-American Facebook friends posted other helpful links.

When I talked on the phone to people who happened to be spending the weekend offline, they seemed completely uninformed about what was happening. Many thought the official election results put out by Ahmadinejad's supporters were the real results, and had no idea there was fighting in Tehran. Some of the political bloggers themselves seemed astonished at how bad a job the mainstream media were doing.

6 thoughts on “Iran and the Internet”

  1. Don't forget the role of Twitter in organizing rooftop protests in Tehran.

    The usefulness of organizing Westerners to wear green today was somewhat less apparent.

  2. I think we are on the same page. I recently was asked what I think is a good source for finding out what is going on in Iran and I sent them the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan blog too…

  3. Harvard University Professor Jonathan Zittrain said, β€œThe qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what make it so powerful.” Amazing that the State Department asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance to avoid disrupting communications among Iranian protesters. Then again, I've also seen estimates that the number of Iranians using Twitter is actually very small.

    It's a strength of Andrew Sullivan's that he tries to be fair without trying to be unbiased.

  4. Considering the constitutional crisis in Iran in mid-2009 as a replica of that in the U.S. in late 2000, is Sullivan's passion for Moussavi not best understood as a restrospective compensation for his failure to support Gore?

  5. Jonah Lehrer has a post here on why (his words) "social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. always seem to become extra relevant during crises and disasters. While the platforms were designed to convey social banalities, they can also serve as vessels of empathy, as people forward along the latest reports and most resonant stories. It doesn't matter if the subject is Iranian protests or Haitian refugees – social media makes the tragedy feel closer, more human. And that is what makes the tragedy feel real."

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