Wednesday 17 June 2009

The Tweets of Rebellion

Unless you live in a shed, you've probably all heard of the "wanna-be facebook" site known as Twitter. Most of my peers view it as rather pointless, after all, we already have medium with which to update the world bi-hourly on our exciting lifestyles and opinions - Facebook status. So why Twitter?

Regardless of what it was intended to be, Twitter is not your hometown, circle of friends social networking site. For example, on Facebook I am "friends" with a few hundred people I know from the area, or have met through various activities. On Twitter, I follow 47 people, including a few reporters like Anderson Cooper, George Stephanopoulos, and of course John Stewart; a few politicians like John McCain, and the big guy himself Barack Obama; a few governments, like Downing Street (who also follow me, hmm..); a few public figures like DaveJMatthews ( <3 ), Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk; and news networks like CNN and NPR. In addition, I also follow a couple friends, including Beans, and my aunt Connie.

So do you think I'm on there posting DMB lyrics, hoping my buddy Obama will recognize them and "like" my status? Certainly not, in fact, I think I've only updated my status four times in the several months I've had Twitter. Really, I only have it so I can read what other, more intelligent and interesting people have to say. I get to read what's recently been going through Anderson Cooper's mind, or what's the big story of the day from CNN. Twitter is really just another convenient news feed, with the benefit of sometimes getting a more personal opinion from important people.

In the past few days, however, Twitter has become a bit more than frequent news updates - it's become one of the few forms of communication available to the people of Iran as they rebel against a rigged election. Journalists have been thrown out, and communication out of Iran has been extremely limited. Even with strict Internet censoring, a few Iranians have been able to upload video, photos, and audio to sites like Facebook & YouTube, broadcasting their situation throughout the world. Twitter has become a valuable source of information as Iranians use the networking site to update the world on Iran's current state.

Personally, I think it's wonderful that the Internet is starting to make the world smaller in ways it hasn't before. But it does get on my nerves a bit, when reporters take five minutes to report the Iran story and ten minutes to pat themselves and other reporters on the back for knowing how to use the web.

(kind of like how I just did.)

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