Twitter Tweet Twit What?

So I’ve finally done it. After avoiding all of the Twit phenomenon on some vague principles I couldn’t explain (this includes turning off the radio whenever the “word” was mentioned!), I’ve finally gone to check out the site. It seems you do not need an account to find out what other people are twitting(…tweeting?) about. You can simply search ANY word, phrase, or incomprehensible idea, and get a running commentary of public opinion on the subject updated in .6 second intervals. 

So this is it, huh? This is the social networking device that could be held accountable for organizing an Iranian Revolution? Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but it is amazing to me that so much momentum has come from these 140 character info-squirts. 

Iranian authorities have banned any foreign media coverage of events in Tehran following the disputed election. This is not a new tactic for contested President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the months and weeks leading up to Iran’s election, the flow of social and public media allowed in and out the country was squeezed tighter and tighter. Foreign correspondent were not the only journalists struggling with the restrictions, as all forms of media within the country of Iran were also being monitored and censored. The Iranian government has complete control of its airwaves, so it is no surprise that on certain days (like the day President Obama gave his address to the “Islamic World”),  all television and radio broadcasts in the nation are shut down. More impressive is that the government has found ways of shutting down facebook, myspace, and many bloggers participation in civilian journalism. The one surviving free forum for public discussion in Iran?  Twitter

The importance of Twitter in Iran has been recognized by the U.S. State Department, which contacted the company during the weekend to request that Twitter not take its service down for scheduled maintenance. Twitter is working to keep the entire globe abreast of events in what has become a most romanticized political event. So after five days of listening to stories about how secret demonstrations of impassioned young revolutionaries were being organized over this bizarre new social landscape that I thought would certainly never be more than a joke and a nuisance…I decided to give the twits a chance.

Try it. I searched “Iran” first, then “Iran Election”, then “Mir-Hossein Mousavi“.

I was not able to make sense out of any of it, but maybe that is my ignorance. Perhaps there are some level of Twitskillz needed to really navigate this overflow of…information? Perhaps it takes a well trained eye to spot a method in the madness. Nonetheless, I grow surprisingly reverent and speechless. I sense a certain amount of gravity in this new e-space; I am frightened and emboldened by how quickly our world is moving in directions I do not understand.


~ by Vy on June 17, 2009.

One Response to “Twitter Tweet Twit What?”

  1. I have been and still am trying to stay away from becoming a twit. What I find really interesting about the whole Iranian demonstrations/hijacking of news matter is what reporting and sort of the media has become. It’s no longer outsiders coming in to talk about what they as an outsider are seeing and their understanding of it. It’s insiders showing images of what’s really happening, speaking on it through word and image. It’s a beautiful, chaotic thing really. It makes me wonder if this is what coverage of war and civic demonstration was in the past. With the inability to get anywhere whenever, and to stay in contact with everyone, reporters had to live what they were reporting on before. Now it seems to have become a day job. Set up a camera, roll, say what the bosses want. I like this “new” style of news.

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