I’m absolutely amazed and excited by the impact that Twitter has had on the events surrounding the Iran election over the weekend. NYMag has a great rundown on how the grassroots communication was used to spread real-time news of events as they played out. They make an important point that although Twitter was able to connect Iranians with the rest of the world to discuss what was going on, there is still the untrustworthy anonymityof the Internet, that trusted new sources like CNN and MSNBC still have fact-checkers and journalistic integrity on their side.
We have discussed the importance of open grassroots communication amongst the public in organizing protest in my Modern Rhetoric class. I wrote a paper for my Technology and Writing class about the importance of text messaging during other acts of protest against a suppressive government. And this solidifies that importance.
The best part about this trend is that Twitter acknowledges the importance of their role in Iran. And not in a “there must be a way we can capitalize on this fame!” kind of way but in a “we have to do what we can to continue to support this”. They are rescheduling a maintenance interruption so that Iranians can continue to communicate.