Iran and the New Net

Iranian demonstrators protesting the recent election results (which look dicey) – and their opponents – are using networked technologies to communicate and organize, including Twitter, blogs, SMS, and the like. John Palfrey, Rob Faris, and Bruce Etling point out, though, that these capabilities, while empowering, won’t carry the day. Whether the demonstrations succeed depends on old-fashioned courage, strategy, and leadership. And Ethan Zuckerman notes (his “cute cat theory“) that Twitter’s success results in large measure from its multi-purpose nature – its generativity, in JZ’s phrase – which makes it less appealing for authoritarian states (= Iran) to block. We’re seeing the psychological power of Web 2.0 in the video, taken on a cell phone, of the shooting of a young woman (likely by a pro-government militia), and its subsequent, viral distribution. Finally, the mainstream media – Media 1.0 – is employing these new technologies since shoe leather journalism has been banned by Iran’s government. It’s a fascinating test case in how professional journalists can use the tools of us amateurs. Less is more, sometimes.

Comments are closed.