I know I’m late to the party on this one, so to speak, but I’ll admit I’m absolutely fascinated at what has been going on with the uproar over the Iranian “election” and how it has all played out on Twitter. My love of Twitter is well documented on this blog for certain but even I’m amazed at how HUGE this thing has gotten.

For those living under a rock for the last couple weeks here’s a sort of rundown, via a Washington Times editorial posted on June 16th;

Tehran’s authoritarian leaders clearly were caught off-guard. They had managed to take down the telephone system opposition supporters used for texting but for some reason were slow to eliminate other social media. As open defiance of the election results broke out, citizen journalists used new media to spread the word. And the whole Web was watching.

Iran is a highly computer-literate society with a large number of bloggers and hackers. The hackers in particular were active in helping keep channels open as the regime blocked them, and they spread the word about functioning proxy portals. Hackers also reportedly took down Mr. Ahmadinejad’s Web site in an act of cyberdisobedience.

The immediacy of the reports was gripping. Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime’s Net crackdown. Eventually the regime started taking down these sources, and the e-dissidents shifted to e-mail. The only way to completely block the flow of Internet information would have been to take the entire country offline

Pretty crazy stuff when you stop and try to fathom it. The last 8 years a lot of people in the world got all far left wing and tried to accuse the Government in this country of pissing on our constitutional rights and stripping us of freedom of speech by seemingly labeling any kind of Anti-Iraq war speech as un-American, etc. Now, while you have to admit there were those kind of vibes floating our there (how true those vibes were? eh..that’s another debate for another day) that PALES in comparison to what’s going on in Iran. It’s just madness on an epic scale that is very hard to comprehend. Shutting down entire internet/cell phone networks to keep dissent from reaching a larger level? That’s something straight out the “Arch Villain” playbook in comics or movies. But for it to happen in REAL life? that’s a hard pill to swallow…even if it is happening half a world away.


Through all of these attempts the Twittering of the Iran Election Protests has continued to run strong. Every time you check the current “hot” trending topics on Twitter it’s Number 1 (except for a brief period last week where the new iPhone O.S. update took the top spot.  Steve Jobs must have been so proud.) Another thing this has done is show the potential POWER Twitter has, especially the use of  “hash tags” (anytime you see a # beside something? That’s a hashtag). Of course, there’s more at stake in this debate/controversy/story than the growth as a communication device that Twitter is experiencing from all of this. In fact, Twitter is insignificant amongst all the major stories about censorship, totalitarian b.s., violence against peaceful protest, and so forth an so on. But the Twitter angle is what makes it fascinating instead of just a sad commentary on what kind of b.s. other parts of the world have to put up with.