Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran."

So says Golnaz Esfandiari in Foreign Policy (via). More:

[T]he 'Twitter Revolution' was an irresistible meme during the post-election protests, a story that wrote itself. . . . Western journalists who couldn't reach -- or didn't bother reaching? -- people on the ground in Iran simply scrolled through the English-language tweets posted with tag #iranelection. Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi. . . .

[A]n honest accounting of Twitter's role in Iran would also note its pernicious complicity in allowing rumors to spread. . . .

It's not that Twitter publicists of the Iranian protests haven't played a role in the events of the past year. They have. It's just not been the outsized role it's often been made out to be. And ultimately, that's been a terrible injustice to the Iranians who have made real, not remote or virtual, sacrifices in pursuit of justice.
The whole article is worth reading, especially for its vivid account of how Twitter "can serve the purposes of Iran's regime as easily as it can aid the country's activists."