Posted by: danfusco | August 3, 2009

Iran and Twitter

I am not a social network guru by any means. I actually don’t have a facebook or a twitter. However, I’ve recently noticed my regular NBA blog has been flooded with tweets from analysts and NBA players alike. The short statements known as tweets could never replace full-page articles, but they do offer a quick, interesting, and occasionally important source of information. Bill Simmons can work around ESPN to deliver quick insight, while NBA players like Chris Bosh can avoid interviewers and go straight to fans. Recently and most importantly, formerly suppressed ideas can be introduced to millions through the ever-growing social medium.

This was a significant change in journalism during the Iranian elections. As Time says, Twitter is “free, highly mobile, very personal and very quick. It’s also built to spread, and fast.” In addition to these attributes, it has a mass following and each topic being discussed has an equally impressive group of people devoted to the issue. The article states, the most active 10 percent are responsible for 65.5 percent of all tweets and the top 1 percent submitted 32.9 percent of relative tweets. Twitter offers a widespread discussion on various topics and, it seems to have some kind of an authority on every issue. Important information is commonly re-tweeted, while false tweets are ousted rather quickly. It is a medium that is easy for anyone with a cell phone or computer to use and it is extremely difficult to censor. This social platform has engaged thousands of people, normally outside the discussion, and offered Iranian citizens a reassurance that people care. I quote Time once again, “Totalitarian governments rule by brute force, and because they control the consensus worldview of those they rule. Tyranny, in other words, is a monologue. But as long as Twitter is up and running, there’s no such thing.” While the social networking scene does not intrigue me in any way, it is good to know people worldwide are being exposed to different opinions and important issues almost instantly. Right now Twitter is still young, but if it continues to expand, it could turn into a major source of news for a long time, especially for the younger generation.

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