Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Revolution as it's being tweeted...

It's nearly 6am in Tehran - Sunday morning is dawning, another day of protests awaits (I know this because my Twitter account is set to GMT +3.5, Location: Tehran).

I've been glued to Twitter all day - the Internet, mobile/wireless communication, and social media have all converged to bring about the maturing of the concept of democracy. It has always been an ideal, practiced by various populations, with varying degrees of success. Democracy is no longer an ideal, it's a reality. No government, anywhere, can hold back the tide of information in the hands of the people.

One of the fascinating things tonight is the reporting, on Twitter, of the death of a young woman named Neda. Neda means "voice" or "call" in Farsi, and she will clearly represent the voice and will of the Iranian people, putting a face to their cause. #neda is currently one of the highest ranked feeds on Twitter, and links to video of her death are available (I can't bring myself to post it here - simply too sad). She was young, beautiful, and gravely injured. In the brief clip that I saw, she looked directly into the camera and then died - heartbreaking. What I find amazing is that even as thousands of cries of her name reverberate across the ethernet, not a word has been reported on any of the major news Internet sites - at least, not that I can find. I am sitting here watching Christiane Amanpour do her wrapup on CNN, entitled "Blood on the streets of Iran." She is clearly the most authoritative voice reporting on television, yet Neda has not been mentioned.

Last week, I would have said that I prefer to read news on the Internet - because when I pick up a newspaper or listen to the radio, I'm seeing/hearing stories that are a day old - I read them hours before on the Internet. Twitter has blown Internet news right off the track. Of course, there will still be a need for thoughtful, well-researched, "professional" journalism. But when it comes to an event like this, the news cycle has suddenly gotten exponentially shorter.

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