A new “Twitter Revolution”? Is social media helping or hurting the protesters in Iran?


Originally uploaded by Ines Mergel.

In the aftermath of the Iran elections, social media tools have played a signicant role in publishing citizens’ stories and pictures on tools such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Mashable has posted a great overview of the number of posts published on blogs and micro-blogging tools that made it through the Internet blockage imposed by the Iranian government.

While it is not clear yet if Twitter really played an absolutely integral role and the traditional media channels didn’t play a role at all(see the Washington Post’s article on “Reading Twitter in Tehran: Sorry, but real revolutions exceed 140 characters” or the BusinessWeek “Iran’s Twitter Revolution maybe not yet“), the following picture shows a Facebook page Musavi’s supporters have set up for him. They label him here as the current “President” of Iran and I am wondering if this might hurt him more than it might actually help his cause.

See the post of the Institute on Ethics and Emerging Technologies on the dark side of Twitter in Iran.

Without any attribution or a source, I heard on Twitter that citizens should take out the batteries from their cellphones after they publish their messages and videos to social networking sites, so that the government won’t be able to geotrack them.


About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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