RT This: Twitter and the Iran Election
“ RealityShawn: RT @jennispinner: Social media's best use isn't sharing what u had for breakfast--it's THIS. #iranelection ”
During the January inauguration we blogged about the innovative use of social media, and how we hoped this would continue (http://bit.ly/l80eJ). The June 12 Iran Presidential election and protests surrounding the outcomes highlights the key role social media can play in grassroots communication. Ordinary citizens take on the role of “Citizen Journalists” and become primary newsmakers, as traditional news outlets face increasing regulation and censorship in Iran. (http://bit.ly/mE9nC)
With limited access of and to traditional journalism, social media gains increasing value and becomes a primary way to communicate and organize. Among social media, Twitter has stood out as a leading aggregator for election coverage (http://bit.ly/B6y3o). Hashtag #IranElection draws thousands of tweets by the minute. Instead of going directly to a single news outlet, Twitter is where we went for breaking information. Through twitter we were able to read millions of real-time updates and become part of a global conversation surrounding the election. Tweets provide not only personal accounts, but links to photos, videos, and other news sources.
Twitter made headlines on June 15, when it decided to postpone its scheduled maintenance after hundreds of thousands of users tweeted #NoMaintenance. This demonstrates how social networks can take a socially responsible role on the web. On their blog, Twitter writes, “[we] recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.” This decision emphasizes the power of the masses and their ability to inform and influence social media.
- Beth and Jessica