On Iran, we have two uses of technology at work. The first is brought to us via the Iranian Government and Photoshop:
This was dispersed via traditional media sources. (You might remember the Photoshopped missile launch too.) At the same time, we have a great deal of news coming out of Tehran via twitter, when Western Media has been otherwise exiled or confined to their hotels. Andrew Sullivan is hosting ‘LiveTweeting the Revolution‘ and has a nice discussion about Foucauldian ‘soft power.’ The Obama Administration asked Twitter to postpone their upgrades as to not interfere with the Twit-o-lution. (There was also an instance of Nigerians using texting to monitor their vote in 2007.) In a minor sidenote, Republicans are not only attempting to make waves by twittering, but Rep Pete Hoekstra twittered that what was going on in Iran was ‘similar’ to what they did last year in their shutdown of the House. (He’s being teased via twitter, in return.)
Clay Shirky points out that this is not technological capital, but social capital traveling from Nigeria to the Western World. This is a nice, clear example of how the producer-consumer relationship on news has changed drastically.
Boing Boing has forwarded a request to help Iranian activists: By changing one’s Twitter location (in settings) to Tehran, GMT +3:30, to make it more difficult for Iranian authorities to hunt down Iranian activist bloggers and Twitterers. See the Iran Election Cyberwar Guide for Beginners. (I did it, but that’s the most that I’ve done with my account in weeks.)
Late Update (11/3/09):
The U.S.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force doesn’t really care for Twitter activists either. Read about an anarchist activist whose house was raided for using Twitter to disseminate information about police activity (gleaned from police scanners) to G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh here. (The charges were eventually dropped.)
Late Late Update (12/27/09):