Social Media and the #IranElection

In a world where our nightly news gives us stories about the love affairs of Jon and Kate and the trivial goings on of Heidi and Spencer it was hardly shocking that when news of protests came out of Iran main stream media was not leading the story. The protests, based on the controversial election results, came through the blogosphere via social media, and only now, days later, main stream media is trying to catch up on news that has become common knowledge to those who actively utilize social media.

Twitter has become the main source of information where a handful of trusted people are tweeting out of Iran, and at a high risk to their personal safety. The tweets are carrying messages about what is happening on the streets, warning people of dangers and countering the messages being put out by the state run media. Even more impactful are the images and videos being captured on cell phones and uploaded to photo sharing sites and youtube. The images are sometimes graphic and show a firsthand look at an uprising in the making. These images are not the ones that are typically screened and edited before making their way to the nightly news here in the US.

Another site, not really a social media site, is news aggregator Fark. This site has been an incredible source of information and conversation about what is happening real time, specifically from a regular poster that posts under the name Tatsuma.

What we are witnessing is not only a potential revolution in Iran, it is a revolution on how we consume news and information. Personally, as someone who is a consumer of social media I appreciate being one of the first in the know - however, as someone who frequents social media I know how fast misinformation can spread. This is a time where the world is starving for information from trusted sources, has this "revolution" shown us the irrelevance of traditional media? I hope not.

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