Over the past few days, I have been powerfully moved by the voices from Iranians struggling to be heard that have been delivered to me through Twitter as I monitored the feed from #iranelection.
In one recent post by the Mousavi1388 feed, which is one of the only ways the candidate who seems to have won the most votes in Iran can communicate, it is written:
We have no national press coverage in Iran, everyone should help spread Mousavi’s message. One Person = One Broadcaster. #IranElection
A more poignant articulation of the political power of the social web can hardly be imagined.
I am relieved to see that Twitter itself has recognized the important role their service is playing in Iran. They have accordingly rescheduled a service maintenance that would have brought their servers offline during a 90 minute period at 9:45pm Pacific time, which would have been around 9:15am in Iran. If the plan to have a nationwide strike tomorrow is to succeed, communication via Twitter is critical for its organization. I am impressed by Twitter’s sensitivity to the political significance of what is happening and by its ability to alter what was surely a logistically complex undertaking even in normal circumstances.
I am impressed also by all the people around the world who have published addresses to proxy servers that allow the tweets from Iran to bypass the government filters seeking to suppress grassroots communication.
Whatever the ultimate outcome of this struggle is, and my hopes and thoughts are with those in the streets trying to be heard–may they be untouched by violence, the manner in which this political process has unfolded has transformed my understanding of Iran, of the power of social media and of the possibilities that open when communities of communication emerge committed to a noble purpose.