Feeds

Iran's revolution will not be televised, but could be tweeted

For better or worse, a medium is just a medium

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Comment Iran is teetering on the brink of a revolution today, thanks to the web in general and Twitter in particular. At least that's the narrative shooting around the Web 2.0-sphere right now.

During the recent election campaign, the wisdom goes, opponents of the hardline Ahmadinejad regime used Twitter, Facebook and blogs to push their message and build up a head of steam that would blow the lid of years of repression. Ahmadinejad would be ousted, democratically, ushering in a new moderate, less insular government led by Hossein Mousavi.

Things didn't quite go as planned. The Ahmadinejad camp officially took 63 per cent of the vote - in a count considered suspiciously quick. Their first act was to clamp down on communications in the country, including the internet and mobile phones, as well as radio and TV broadcasts. The likes of the BBC were left relying on satellite phones to report out of the country. But Twitter endured, enabling ordinary Iranians to bypass government censorship.

Reform-minded Iranians, incensed at what they see as the government's stealing of the election, took to Twitter et al to claim that Mousavi had in fact beaten Ahamdinejad by over three to one, and to encourage their compatriots to take to the streets. People certainly took to the streets, where there were vicious clashes on Sunday.

A massive demonstration yesterday ended in bloodshed, with pro-government militia opening fire and killing at least seven protesters. Pictures and video of the demo and its aftermath quickly appeared on photo sharing sites and YouTube. Shortly after, the religious authorities - the ultimate power in the country - announced a partial recount of the vote.

On the other side of the world, Twitter, conscious of its new role as an enabler of revolution, declared it would postpone scheduled maintenance, so that Iranians could continue to avail themselves of the service.

Which all makes for a ringing endorsement of Web 2.0, apparently.

So is it churlish to point out that it's only 30 years since a previous Iranian regime was toppled by an upstart cleric, whose views were propagated underground, using nothing so techie as C90 cassette tapes?

Or to remember that for better or worse, there were revolutions in China and Russia in the last Century, where dissent was spread using nothing more than ink and paper, or just the human voice. Or that in the 1990s, the Rwanda genocide was fuelled by radio broadcasts.

So, even as the non-Iranian Twitterati continue to pat themselves on the back, it's worth remembering that a medium is just that, and not a message. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.