Twitter becomes a lifeline to an Iran in turmoil
Iranians Twitter to the world, bypassing government blocked communication avenues
Computerworld - While Twitter Inc. has suffered endless wisecracks about its users tweeting more about their favorite sandwiches and coveted parking spots than anything truly important, the past several days have once again showed the microblogging site's real promise.
During a harsh government crackdown following the disputed Iranian elections, the Twitter social network has become something of a lifeline for the people of Iran. The Iranian government may have blocked or shut down various communication mediums - like phone lines, the Facebook social network, YouTube videos and even text messaging - but people are still sending photos and information from Iran in short 140-character bursts.
"I think this is Twitter's finest hour. I don't think there's much doubt about that," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research. "If anyone in Iran has access to the Web, they can tell their story. This has made our world smaller and more personal in a time of great chaos and when a government is trying to stop communication."
Some of the Tweets sent today include:
- "CONFIRMED!!! Army moving into Tehran against protesters!"
- "tehran is alive with sound of freedom"
- "all cell networks down in Tehran"
It's not the first time Twitter has been used to get vital information from chaotic sites to authorities and the public. Earlier this year, several passengers on a US Airways jet that made an emergency water landing on New York's Hudson River used Twitter to keep the world updated on the status of the passengers and crew. And late last year, Tweets were sent from the site of a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India.
Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, and Caroline Dangson, an analyst with IDC, both said the use of Twitter to broadcast reports from the scene of such incidents shows how individuals have taken control of news dissemination.
"Social media is empowering the masses to connect, share and organize in ways of incredible scale and speed that are much harder, if not impossible, to control," said Dangson. "The situation in Iran is illustrating this phenomenon where government and media outlets are no longer the gatekeepers to news. The man on the street is now the reporter in the field covering the situation in Iran thanks to the penetration of connected devices and availability of social messaging applications."
While an astronaut has Twittered from space and despite the Twittering from disaster sites, the social network still gets far more attention for its trivial side. For instance, when Oprah Winfrey started tweeting live from her talk show and actor Ashton Kusher raced to his one millionth Twitter follower, there were weeks of splashy headlines.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service Traditional phone systems present two main problems for businesses: limited features and high costs. As a result, small businesses are migrating to Internet...
- Face Time Anytime Real-time communications facilitates team collaboration from nearly anywhere in the world. With facts and figures you can use to justify an investment
- Now is the time to implement a video conference solution Video conferencing is getting a lot of buzz lately due to the recent cost decrease, making it tangible for many law firms. It's...
- Video drives engagement Achieving maximum results means building a solid platform and network infrastructure. As digital age unfolds, it's clear that the ability to communicate effectively...
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
All Web Apps White Papers |