TWITTER’S TIME HAS COME

Over the last several days, history has been changed by the new media, especially Twitter. A year ago, with mainstream media shut down, the massive demonstrations in Iran might have been a rumored upheaval. Now, via twitter and cell phones, we all can hear and see second by second what is going on. It is mind blowing. It’s not Ashton Kutcher who is putting Twitter on the map, it’s Iran. My son, Troy, and his wife, Simone, have been here with me for hours watching events unfold on CNN. Clearly, the impact isn’t just in the way events are being revealed to the outside world. There is the empowering way in which people within Tehran are communicating among themselves, finding out what’s happening in neighboring communities, developing strategy based on real time events, receiving news of friends and family. We haven’t begun to absorb what this new media will mean for the future but it’s clear that it has the potential to change what was a presidential election into a possible change of the entire structure of government.

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37 Comments
  1. Lovely post, and spot on. I knew, while watching and feeling what happened around events this past year or so like the last US election and other world events that the Twitter community holds the potential of enormous power. We have created a way to connect to one another across time and space, defying what seems to be the universal law we’ve been abiding by, and I believe it foretells a new way not only to interact with one another but also to make real connections in the future. The world is changing, and this is just the beginning but is also a real manifestation of the direction we’re headed in. Thanks again.

  2. Twitter has changed our world. The tragedies occuring in Iran , the deaths are being shown, it requires somber moments much of the time and others excitement that the world is seeing and hearing and reading real time events.

  3. Thank you for posting this observation. I have recently signed on to Twiiter. This is a clear example of the impact this medium has. Amazing times we are experiencing. Thank you for engaging in it.

  4. Very true Jane, Intellectual freedom results when the mind has clear knowledge and information. This NEW moral universalism DEVELOPMENTING IN OUR NEW MEDIA IMPERATIVE ,A COLLABORATIVE ACTION PLAN WITHIN CYBER-ENVIRONMENTS. There is a new wellspring of interest today on the outlook of ACTION AND RE-ACTION within new social media. The motive needs only to be perceived as freedom and the physical,intellectual,and moral right of information to change the world. Information is change and we can change the world just by a interest action for Intellectual freedoms.

  5. This is the personal empowerment of the Internet coming to fruition we envisioned when we sued and won Reno v. ACLU (1997), a watershed 1st Amendment defense of the Internet. Follow Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow. We’re using cryptography and proxy servers to keep the people of Iran online.

  6. It certainly is a unique time in history isn’t it. We could communicate so easily, if we could only listen as well.

  7. I am your age. Have 2 hip replacements. Just got back from the gym. Use exercycles, and torso twist, lower back, leg extentions, arm exercises with weights etc etc.
    The knee is more difficult in that there are more parts to it. But it will be fine in a bit.

    The revolutionaries in Iran are beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes to see Iranians all over the world supporting them in rallies.

  8. I, too, have been rabidly following events as they unfold in Iran, and commend all those Iranians who show the courage of their convictions.

    At least they didn’t sit on their asses, consumed with the trivialities of network tv “reality” shows, as did Americans when our 2000 election was handed to the neo-cons in what was tantamount to a government-sanctioned coup. Whatever happened to the courage and inspiration we old timers showed back in the 60s? It seems too few of our children learned from our example.

    With sincere appreciation on the continuing humor, intelligence, inspiration, and education your blog provides.

    • My sentiments exactly Carole. The willingness of the Iranian’s to fight for what they believe in puts us to shame. So many of us in the West have become anesthetized with the things that you mentioned.

      • I agree with Carol, too, Carole. Americans are so complacent anymore! Reality shows are the height of engagement in “what’s happening.” Sad. I’m happy to see Twitter getting positive credit for bringing us the truth, but let’s remember that they were doing it for DAYS before CNN even mentioned ONE WORD about it! Mainstream news was SILENT on the subject. We have much to be concerned about and activist for in our own country. “Fair and balanced” news reportage is still only a dream. Hopefully Twitter can fill the void here.

  9. True. If this revolt results in regime change in Iran, I won’t be surprised if history labels it as the “Iranian Twitter Revolution.”

  10. AMEN Jane!

  11. I am in shock.what can be done?What can I do?Those poor people need help but since Bush spent all our resources in Iraq we cant afford to do much.Where’s the UN or NATO? I am truly frightened yet amazed by the things that are unfolding.God, please bless the good people of Iran!

    • Johanna,

      While I understand completely where you’re coming from, I couldn’t support direct military intervention by NATO or the UN. The Iranian people shouldn’t be underestimated, they have changed the fabric of their society previously and real change has to come from within, rather then being imposed, Iraq being a prime example of how wrong things can go when external powers decide what is best for other people.

  12. all very true about twitter channging how we communicate with each other.. and if u couple that’s together with apps like http://babelwith.me that will tear down language barriers, the potential is mind-blowing.

  13. It’s amazing, with the way technology moves at, these days, that many people in this world do not see it either.

    I have a feeling that outlets like Twitter are going to be the way more and more of us communicate, in the future.

    The reason why?

    Any thing taking place around the world will be a great deal harder to hide from a public who has the technology to show the truth, instead of half-lies.

    “Just some of my thoughts there!”

  14. i’m in tehran and i was on streets among protestors yesterday,tehran was in blood 🙁 i saw 2 injured by gun fire in just 1 minute,there was a woman killed by gun fire 5 minutes before i arrive and the video is on the web.regime really massacreed people yesterday,i was lucky not being shot but the guy beside me was not.all these bloodshed happen in Iran and specially in Tehran and world is just watchin and some like obama wishing to negotiate with those who fired bullets to peacefull demonstrator.

  15. I found Twitter very valuable because I can keep up with the people I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING–some people are very interesting and some like Chris Cuomo are telling us about his trips and what is really happening all over the world–also I like to know small stuff just stuff –like Billy Bush–he tells us all about his kids and what he is doing that weekend and also about his work–So it’s a little of this and a little of that!! i also tell about what going on in my llife for my family to see –I love it–(:>) PS-I really was amazed that Twitter didn’t do their work on twitter because of Iran-and waiting for the news from the Iranians Twitters–AMAZING thank you from cathy

  16. You are absolutely right! I was in radio for 21 years and left after over corporatization of our media here in U.S. Now as a free press media reform activist the “freedom of press” is under attack abroad but even here at home. Long before the Iran election uprising those of us in the grassroots movement for more voices in our media we saw the only way to defeat Corporate consolidation was a change at the FCC helm- which we got in the most honorable Kopps, and Citizen journalism. Iran is the template for citizen journalism and it’s power. Despite data now showing the entire internet network was shut down soon after the election hand held cells, camera’s took the images to show the world of the PEACEFUL marches of hundreds of thousands of Iranians. And the violence of the regime. I am American. A white American. But I am a global citizen. I want a better world for ALL. To see Iranian WOMEN on the frontlines–heart wrenchingly brave. Iran is also the template for NET NEUTRALITY if you do not know of it read up on it and ask your followers to as well. Because many bills are floating through Washington to take away freedom of the Internet- and now we know how vital Net Neutrality is to Democracy. You rock Jane!

  17. Beautiful ad by Iran opposition now with english subtitles- touched my heart- shows how similar we all are.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-PKIvKltDU

  18. Twitter, while an interesting and significant addition to the world of communication and media, doesn’t have the clout or effect *inside* Iran everyone thinks it does. Only 35% of Iran uses the internet, the vast majority through a single state-run ISP. The second authorities decide to shut down the internet through that one ISP completely, no amount of proxy servers are going to help Iranians. There have been several reports that only an estimated 8,600 twitter accounts are from Iranians, and only a small subset of that are actually active in the protests and twitter. I am sure Iranians are gaining much more info and protest coordination through cell phones (if they’re not shut down, as they have been in Tehran), and face to face communication.

    However, I am certain that Twitter certainly has a great effect on how the world *outside* Iran is seeing the election protests.

  19. the nes has been amazing and sometimes horrific to see, but we need to see it! there has been a request that everyone on twitter change their location settings to tehran, to logjam it so to speak so that govt will not be able to find where the tweets are all coming from. i did this, i dont know if it will work, but is a tiny thing that i can do to help……….if anyone else has any ideas……….

  20. “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing” Albert Einstein

  21. Twitter came out of no where, was so simple, and now EVERYBODY’S doing it. It is the easiest way for us to communicate and teaches us to get our point across in 140 characters or less. Does anyone think twitter will up their character count sometime? Hmmm…something to think about.

  22. It is all well to help Iran for democracy. I, too, support that. However, I remember years back when Iranian people were complaining from Shah Muhammed Riza Pehlevi in the same way. I also remember how women and men althogether accepted Ayetullah Humeyni as their hero and rushed to cover themselves from tip to toe with Islamic clothing. I saw how Iranian police punished women whose hair partly shown out of their head scarves and how all the rest applaused the police for that. Now I have one question; what do they exactly want? If they want real democracy I support them forever. All the experiences around the world showed us, we cannot help people who do not want to be helped. Look at Irak, look at Afghanistan. Communication existed in different shapes and forms in all times. Isn’t this how they founded Iranian Islamic Revolution?!!!

  23. Well said, but I think one should always mention the short-comings and weak points in an evaluation. I suggest everyone read this article from the New York Times (titled “Twitter on the Barricades: Six Lessons Learned”). I will provide the full link instead of tiny url. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/weekinreview/21cohenweb.html

  24. How much of this upheaval in Iran has an American stamp on it. Is it really what Iran wants or is the Choas something created by someone on the outside.
    Enough of messing around in other people’s affairs let the people in their own countries decide for themselves and stop the interference. They had a democratic election decades ago and America interferred and place the Shah in power. Now they want to interfer again like they did in Pakistan. When will it end. Don’t believe everything you see and hear in the media format-talk to people in person

  25. Time is moving so swifting. Technology is bursting to the next level of communication. I can’t even ‘imagine’ what life will be like in the future….(body parts with chips imbedded in our skin for speaking like our handheld BB??) so exciting. however it is incredible that the Iranians had this communication with each other when the government clearly wanted them to be silent. thank god for our freedom and free speech. (and the invention of TWITTER!!!)

    heal quickly and painlessly Jane! Linda

  26. I was at the gym the other day and they have CNN playing on some of the TVs. There was, like you said, minute by minute coverage of happenings in Iran, and at the bottom of the screen, the Twitter logo was there. I never really took Twitter seriously, I often thought of it as being a somewhat silly internet tool that I could use to keep up with friends, actors, musicians, etc., but never really saw the political importance. Thank you for bringing to our attention that Twitter is more than just another “time-wasting internet social networking tool” and that it’s purpose goes beyond the shallow “find out what your friends are doing right now.”

    Best,
    Amanda

  27. Great to know you are doing so well after your surgery!!

  28. I visited Tiannamen Square a few years back. It was incredible to think that not too long ago a journalist had to smuggle 2 minutes of videotape out of China so the world could see what was really happening.

    Now, with the age of Twiiter and other technology, people around the world can know what is going on and perhaps in their own small way, try to change things.

  29. How good it would have been if we had Twitter during the Kosovo conflict, maybe the world would have “done something” about it if actually saw what was going one.

  30. Strange to listen to the newscasters on CCN and hear how often they refer to twitter. Like with any news resource, they have to be careful about not reporting anything as a fact before it’s verified, but the volume of information and media coming out of Iran via twitter is awesome.

  31. Yes, Twitter is incrediably useful, but it took people to put this whole thing into action not Twitter. We can’t forget about the seed that was planted. And that seed was planted by the hope our new president has brought to the world. A President speaking truth has caught the attention and hearts of the world. Its happening everywhere…..If America can do it so can we.
    I am overwhelmed hearing my President speak from his heart and with truth flowing from his lips.Reaching into the hearts of everyone. It sometimes brings me to tear.

  32. Worlds time has come as well. Merging with amazing new world of social networking it is a wonder to see it unfolding now. Neda the young woman who died valiantly in Tehran is much like Benazir Bhutto who died as an advocate for peace in Pakistan. New spiritual message on web speaks of this emerging world. Neda=New Evidence of Divine Acceleration Honduras, Iraq, Iran sovereignty day claimed today, Israel, Pakistan. It is real and it is happening. Now. Namaste’

  33. from my web message: We the people are connected as One like never before through Twitter, Facebook, World Wide Web, Neda’s image was sent all over the world in an instant. This tool of democracy and light here to assist us. Love and compassion all around to assist us. A new world is certainly emerging if you awaken, listen, and choose to see it.
    Namaste’ Jane….your Light is a Beacon to women more then you know.

  34. I feel very lucky to have seen and experienced so many changes in my lifetime, especially in the last 2 decades where technology has path the way we do everyday things. With all changes comes good and evil – the balance of nature some may say. It could often divide us but use it right, it will bring us all closer together. But no matter what, we all certainly need to contribute to the damages and sadness seen today. Compared to 20 years ago, the world has become a more harmful place – much of it coming from our own greed. It’s no longer safe – even for our own families let alone watching those badly stricken communities around the world. A complex world we definitely live in, sometimes too complex for us to even comprehend.

    I work as an artist, designer, illustrator and photographer and hope that one day, I shall be able to use my gift to help in a BIG way.

    Hi Jane. I have enjoyed your work for as long as I can remember and also your father’s. It’s feels wonderful that I can write my ‘2 cents’ worth of thought among such wonderful minds who have contributed in this blog.

    Have a great day everyone and above all, keep safe.

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