The Iran Controversy And The Importance Of Social Media Communications

The 2009 Iranian presidential elections happened on 12th June this time around. Result: current president incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election with 66% of the votes cast in favour of him and Mir-Hossein Mousavi got 33% of them. Not even 24 hours had passed when the dusk of 13th June saw the biggest unrest in Iran since 1979. Ahmadinejad was charged against electoral fraud and irregularities during the vote by his opponent and Iran soon turned into a war zone. The 300 plus angry crowd of 13th June turned into a swelling mob of thousands and the news spread to the entire world.

In a desperate attempt to subdue the protests, most of the prominent sites like Facebook, YouTube, and foreign broadcasting websites were blocked. Soon to be followed were SMS, international calls and eventually all cell phone services were shut down; a complete information lockdown to be precise.

But trickle of news has been pouring out to the world since then, mainly via the internet. Iranians have been uploading amateur pictures and videos at various sources. Twitter has come up as the hero here, with many protests being organized via the Microblogging tool. People are sharing real time reports from the chaos and giving international media coverage to the happenings inside the country. Twitter has not only been an organizing tool but also as a very important media tool, when all other channels failed. So much so, that the U.S. state department had to tell (request?) Twitter to not shut down for a pre-planned maintenance so that the flow of communication from inside Iran remains unchanged. And yeah, how can we forget the #cnnfail hashtag on Twitter, which came out as a result of Twitter users venting out their frustration on CNN for not giving enough coverage to the Iran incident. CNN had to issue an official response to the allegations.

One more small huge victory dance for Social Media communication, eh?

Here are some tips and informational channels on Social Media where you can keep yourself updated about the Iran controversy and protests, which look nowhere near to settling down.

At least one user has been using web proxies to post videos on his YouTube channel. There are some really jaw-dropping videos from this guy, right in the middle of the action. Do have a look. Then this is the perfect search keyword to track protest videos, it will automatically show you the latest videos on top. Thanks to the guys at Mashable for this one.

You can follow the hashtags #iranelection and #helpiranelection to track and monitor the latest real time updates from all around the globe. My Twitter friends also gave me this nice link to give my social avatar a green tinge (the colour of Iran) to show support for the democracy.

The blog Revolutionary Road has been bringing constant updates from the war zone. Then At Flickr, I have been spending hours after hours just peering over the images at the keywords Iran Elections and Iran Riots 2009. In the meanwhile, my heart goes out to the supporters of democracy out there. May Iran find peace, soon.

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