Tweeting a revolution
As a messy election unfolds in Iran, details of the situation have been broadcast throughout the world not only by the mainstream news media, but also by Iranian citizens who are members of social networking sites such as Twitter. Iranian officials have tried to block the flow of information, first by restricting foreign press and later by the government curbing access to Twitter and other internet resources.
Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet–and How to Stop It, and the OpenNet Initiative have recently release a study on Internet Censorship in Iran. In an interview with the New York Times, Zittrain commented that Twitter is somewhat resistant to censorship because of its multiple methods of updating, including SMS text messaging. However, the Iranian government has also tried to restrict updates via this method by blocking text message service, for some say up to 24 hours. As we look to see how the situation plays out, it seems to be relevant to look at the apparent ascendancy of social media and how it informs our understanding of world affairs.