Tag Archives: protest

The 2009 Iranian Twitter Revolution

Many times in the past, I’ve heard derisive comments once the words “Twitter” or “tweet” enter casual conversation.

‘It’s a phase,’ someone amongst the group would say with an accompanying snort. ‘It holds no credible value.’

A simpler comment is often ‘it’s just plain stupid.’ Followed by several nods of agreement.

But now citizens of Iran are using the apparently unserious and “stupid” online social networking site Twitter as means to communicate their green revolution to both themselves and the outside world. No – it’s not green in the environmental sense, but instead political – touting green in online avatars, T-shirts and banners in support of their Iranian presidential candidate, Hussein Mousavi.

It’s a revolution, though not quite to the scale of 30 years ago when the Islamic Revolution shook Iran. But a revolution, nonetheless. And social networking site Twitter is caught in its centre.

Twitter Makes Way for the Latest Twitter Movement

Even the developers and insofar as the U.S. State Department seem to acknowledge this new rush to the Twitter engine. According to the BBC, Twitter delayed rountine maintenance in order to keep the Iranian flow of protest information uninterrupted.

In the same article, U.S. State Department reportly contacted Twitter, stating ‘we highlighted to them that this was an important form of communication.’ Twitter co-founder Biz Stone stressed that the U.S. State Department did not ultimately make the decision.

Getting the Word Out

Television news networks such as the BBC have received video from green Iranian protesters, who are otherwise cut off from the rest of the world due to a government clampdown of media. For instance, this footage was sent by mobile to BBC Persian TV. It depicts pro-Ahmadinejad militia firing on Mousavi supporters peacefully protesting in the streets.

Social media is a fascinating thing. Its future steps are hard to predict. Now Twitter is part of a revolution that it likely never dreamed to play an integral part.


Further reading…

Click here to read a Guardian timeline of Iranian unrest since the election (updated automatically on every minute).

Click here to read an LA Times article on the twits and tweets of the Iran presidential election protests.

Click here to view more videos and photos sent from Iranian protesters to the BBC.

Click here to view IranElection, its tweets and its followers on Twitter.

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Video: Westboro Baptist Church at Mason

Although my Canon PowerShot A400 wasn’t designed with high-end video in mind, even low-end technology can capture just the right moment.

This is a capture of George Mason University students and local community members alike holding counter-protest signs and cheering at beeps and honks from passing cars.

About two minutes after this video was taken, a large truck lumbered into the intersection and gave the counter-protesters an ear-splitting hello. This made the counter-protesters cheer only louder.

The 6 Westboro Baptist Church members were approximately twenty feet ahead of where this video was taken.

A gallery of photos:

See more on Flickr. For my intial post and observations written one hour after the protest, go here.

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Preview: Westboro Baptist Church Protest Photos

Counter-protesters lined the sidewalks while Westboro Baptist Church visited George Mason University.

Counter-protesters lined the sidewalks while Westboro Baptist Church visited George Mason University.

From 7:40 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. this morning, the Westboro Baptist Church protested at my university.

This organization is most known for its “God Hates Fags” and “God Hates America” slogans.

I rushed to the protest and counter-protest location and snapped some pictures. Head to my photostream (courtesy of Flickr) to view all the photos.

Video from the protest will be posted later in the day.

Westboro’s protest at Mason coincided with the kickoff of its annual PRIDE Week. Considering Westboro’s famous slogan and Mason’s celebrated choice for the 2009 homecoming queen, there was little question why Mason was chosen.

The protest and counter-protest took place peacefully, with the Westboro members occupying a street corner sectioned off by police. Counter-protesters protested in three separate locations, and outnumbered the Westboro members by an estimated ten-to-one.

Again, my Flickr photostream has many more photos from the event. Take a look.

Later on today, I will take time to write more about the experience, and who came to exercise their right to free speech in the chilly morning hours in Fairfax, Va.

UPDATE: jump ahead to the video post.

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