Mousavi, a Persian Obama? Twitter Iran revolution?

by Laurent François

We’ve experienced last night an incredible amount of conversations about the Iranian elections.

Twitter was at the heart of the event coverage I quote (sorry it’s in French):

“Rôle de Twitter confirmé cette nuit encore par un journaliste d’ABC, Jim Sciutto qui sur Twitter justement déclarait “Aujourd’hui pour la première fois je trouve Twitter utile pour suivre un évènement”. D’ailleurs une citation est revenue plusieurs fois sur l’ensemble du réseau de micro-blogging: “The revolution will not be televised, it will be twiterrised” – “La révolution n’est pas télévisée, elle est twiterrisée”.

And CNN was accused by new media because of the lack of media information and time dedicated to the event in the US :

“For most of Saturday, Cnn.com had no stories about the massive protests on behalf of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was reported by the Iranian government to have lost to the sitting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The widespread street clashes–nearly unheard of in the tightly-controlled Iran–reflected popular sentiment that the election had been rigged, a sentiment that was even echoed, to some extent, by the U.S. government Saturday.”

In social media, you could see the first data of Iranian people fighting and rebelling, and some citizens were able to structure the word-of-mouth from the local data to the rest of the world, like in France Mémoire Vive which worked as a true “hub” all night long:

“Ou encore toujours sur Twitter : mohamadreza de Téhéran, IranRiggedElect, et iranbaan (en persan uniquement) dont les tweets sont traduits en anglais en direct ici. Ainsi que le magazine en ligne indépendant : TehranBureau, le reporter de la chaîne ABC actuellement sur place Jim Sciutto (jimsciuttoABC).

Sur cet article, de nombreuses vidéos des manifestations sont ajoutées au fur et à mesure, des vidéos aussi ici iranhumanrights.org.

Vidéo aussi de Reuters sur Yahoo et HuffingtonPost : Iran Violence (VIDEO): Protests Erupt, Riot Police Launch Crackdown, le Dailykos : “Tehran Street Photos“, de très nombreuses photos et vidéos ici. Reportages de la BBC : Violent clashes in Tehran, Protest against Iran election results.”

So what are the first insights?

  • first, it’s not the win of a media-citizen againt traditional media, and even less the win of the man of the street against the journalists. Local reporters and foreign journalists were structuring and leading the diverse sources of information, like Steve, or Mohamed (Al Jazeera). Because people trust them, they first came to see them to identify what was right and what was wrong
  • these kinds of digital influencers challenged other information-“official”-makers. It was a true war of influence, more than a simple info-war. So Steve and Mohamed, surrounded by other digital influencers and helped by interested citizens are the true “initiators” to this buzz
  • Twitter is a very reactive media. Overnight, users are more or less back to their interests and daily concerns. So as to make a topic buzz all around the world, Twiiter attention must be ready to be engaged and outreached
  • Mousavi’s role is to my point of view still under-estimated. Some first explanations : “Now it’s Iran’s turn: Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main opponent of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are going online to organize for Friday’s elections in Iran.Facebook is emerging as a particularly important campaign tool. As Elham Khatami of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, Facebook has become a way to circumvent state-run media, which tends to favor the incumbent administration. Mousavi now counts over 36,000 Facebook friends, a network that could prove a potent way to mobilize voters under 30, who make up around half of the electorate. His supporters have also created a Twitter page and a YouTube channel.” Opinion was ready to receive this buzz. Mousavi and others dissidents thought “long term”. We can probably make an analogy with President Obama. Mousavi could be a Persan Obama.

One Comment to “Mousavi, a Persian Obama? Twitter Iran revolution?”

  1. I totally disagree on the statement that "the revolution will be twiterised". It's just another shit some internet Guru want us to acknoledge. The revolution will be live, blood, tears, fire or it will not be. Moldovian and bulgarian exemple qhould have been enought.

    But on the other hand, it is true that this Musavi has been inspired by Obama about social networks. ONe of his staff clearly said it on some US newspaper. (WSJ i think)

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