Archive for June, 2009

the revolution will not be televised, it will be Twittered

Monday, June 15th, 2009

From an IT standpoint, one of the remarkable things about the protests in Iran, is the amount of information that is being transmitted via new social media, like Twitter, Faceboo, Youtube and Flickr. And it’s being mashed up in a way to transmit a cohesive and compelling picture of the events in realtime. Considering the urgency with which the Iranian government is shutting access to these same sites demonstrates that Web 2.0 represents an important new way to communicate about and with government:

Stripping away the hyperbole of that statement and we are left with the very real and grounded fact that the way citizens across the world
organize, react, and participate has forever been altered by the cornucopia of 21st century mediums, each of which presents a new platform for how citizens interact with and even select their government.

The blogger continues:

But the internet provides something more. Where print, radio and TV have permitted political and community leaders to "get their messages" out to the masses, they are largely one-dimensional methods of communication. With the internet, however, we are seeing for the first time how multi-dimensional technology allows not just for the amplification of a "message" by those at the top, but it also allows for the creation of sub-messages, anti-messages, and other reactions by the masses.

Can the same be done with global environmental change? Environmental change certainly works on a much slower timetable than political crises. It’s nowhere near as immediate and may not generate the same kind of branched sensibilities of the word. And are science-related topics amenable to this frenetic branching of chatter? Science aims to be authoritative; whereas, politics aims to be assertive. Anti-messages, particularly around climate change, already flourish in Web 1.0. With conservatives’ adoption of media like Twitter, the counter-chatter could swamp the authority. During the course of thi grant, we’ll aim to find some of the answers.