While most people have heard that social media has played a role in the post-election results in Iran, the consequences of immediate communication and online conversation have an impact that is equally compelling to on-the-ground coverage.
While Valeria Maltoni sees the potential for crowdsourcing to surpass CNN news (it can), we also see it as an interesting division. Whereas traditional media has been tending to cover the sentiment of the elected, social media tends to reveal the sentiment of those who elect. And that is making the elected take notice.
Mass Influence Over Influencers
Even in the United States, President Obama has been compelled to step up his stance on Iran. Originally, he hoped to avoid commenting about the democratic process of Iran over concern for future diplomacy with a country known to be developing a nuclear program and backing militant organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. However, his initial hands-off stance had been largely viewed as timid and unrepresentative.
Yesterday, that changed. President Obama, who now says he was moved by the protest images, has called for an end to the violence while advising those who govern that they ought to lead by consent over coercion.
It's equally likely he wasn't moved on his own. Overwhelmingly, Americans have helped make the Iranian elections two of the top ten stories on the Internet — the election itself and the State Department asking Twitter to hold off on scheduled maintenance in order to ensure real-time citizen reporting.
News that used to die in a day isn't so easily forgotten. People all over the world want resolution.
BloggersUnite Hosts Spontaneous Event
BloggersUnite.org, which is a nonprofit platform that encourages bloggers to do good and raise social awareness, has launched an initiative that asks bloggers and network participants to use their blogs and accounts to do exactly that. They are asking bloggers and network members to continue their efforts, drawing even more awareness to the Iranian election and related atrocities in Iran through June 29.
“When we host organized campaigns, they are usually 90 days in the making,” said Antony Berkman, president of BlogCatalog.com and founder of BloggersUnite.org. “This time, the crisis is now, the need for action is now, the initiative is now.”
The event has already received praise by Amnesty International USA, which has its own action page condemning the violence and repression over the elections. Amnesty International says it is important for people to keep Iran in the public spotlight until it ends restrictions on freedom of expression and association, which includes the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas.
Bloggers and members of the media are asked to contribute to the Bloggers Unite for a Free Iran campaign by making it a dominant social media issue once again on June 29. Others are asked to participate by leaving supportive comments on participating blogs, sharing links to posts about this important effort, and/or by turning all avatars green in honor of the campaign. Bloggers who have already posted on the subject are asked to add their links to the BloggersUnite.org event page and post again on June 29.