It's been fascinating following minute-by-minute updates about the Iranian election. The reports often come as pure on-the-ground experience.
Iranians are able to use their own voice to describe their experience, rather than relying on foreign journalism. The result has a certain electric quality that can't be denied. These tweets from @persiankiwi are personal favorites:
people pouring into alleyways. running everywhere. can hear people on rooftops. #Iranelection
we are now several people. we have 4 computers running. 2 men out with camcorders. #Iranelection
No press releases, no advertising, no big companies involved, just pure undiluted DIY information. Even the mainstream media is turning to Twitter as an ultimate news source.
All you have to do is click on the #IranElection hashtag for a stream of diverse commentary. I wanted an example of mainstream news referring to the Internet, and found one in about 5 seconds:
@Wince_Meet Keep tweeting IRAN! They are reading them on CNN. BE HEARD across the WORLD! #IranElection Please re re re tweet! #IranElection
It's all about spreading the word. Sometimes I worry about whether or not people without access to the Internet will be closed out of the rapidly connecting modern world. But then I read an article about Indian farmers using cell phones or read the Iranian tweets where they are still managing to get Internet somehow in the middle of all this chaos. As someone tweeted this morning: "Cultural changes are right in front of our eyes."
Above image posted on: http://twitpic.com/7gtbu
UPDATE: 6/16/09 Report from the Associated Press
I woke up this morning to read more news about the crackdown on the media in Iran. Journalists are being silenced and foreign reporters are leaving the country.
"Authorities restricted journalists, including Iranians working for foreign media from reporting on the streets, and said they could only work from their offices, conducting telephone interviews and monitoring official sources such as state television.
Also Tuesday, foreign reporters in Iran to cover last week's elections began leaving the country. Iranian officials said they will not extend their visas."
Just reinforces my awe of how information is spread today, the viral nature as it spreads from anyone with a cell phone and a satellite. In situations like this, it's so powerful to see the people regain their own voice.
* The Future is Now!