Twitter has emerged as the platform of choice for infomation about the recent political unrest that has gripped Iran. With International media banned from the streets of Tehran in wake of the recent elections, some Irananians have turned to the real time social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flick and Youtube to ensure facts get out.
Twitter is getting out important messages that main stream media can’t – security forces firing on crowds, and blood soaked protesters in pain from bullet wounds. To check the latest tweets on Iran Elections use # hashtag iranelections on Twitter.
The importance of Twitter’s role in the current crisis is such that the website decided to postpone a planned maintenance of the site, which would have taken it offline for 90 minutes when hundreds of new tweets are being added every minute. Twitter users wordwide turned their avtaar ( profile picture ) to add a shade of green in support of the Iranian people and their fight for a fair election.
According to a CNN blog post, the U.S. government is connecting with Twitter and other major social media companies to make sure that the flow of information from Iran remains uninterrupted. While the Obama administration itself keeping out of the Iran controversy on official channels, it is making sure that information coming from people on the ground is getting through to the rest of the world.
The site also revealed that the US State Department asked Twitter not to go down at its original time last night in order to allow Iranians to tweet out what’s happening in their cities. It also seems that U.S. officials are watching the chatter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere to keep updated with the situation in Iran. Social media communication is even more important, since the U.S. has no embassy or official relationship with Iran.
Is live blogging and citizen journalism changing the dynamics of traditional media and journalism ? With Twitter racing ahead of Digg and NYtimes.com , the power to communicate and broadcast is in the hands of the common man.