Thursday, June 18, 2009
Iran Crisis and the Rise of Twitter and Social Media
There is considerable chatter in the blogosphere right now concerning how the protestors in Iran are getting their words and images out in the face of media
prohbiitions. Twitter and Facebook have become ways that friends and families as well as the media are piecing together what is happening.
I read one piece asking whether Twitter is the new CNN. Brian Scobie reported for Techcrunch on a "140 Characters conference" to "explore how Twitter was transforming the process of news gathering and lead sourcing. Joining Scoble was Ann Curry (@AnnCurry)—News Anchor on NBC’s Today Show and host of Dateline NBC, Rick Sanchez (@ricksanchezcnn)—host of the 3PM weekday edition of CNN Newsroom, Ryan Osborn (@todayshow)—producer, NBC Today Show, and Clayton Morris (@claytonmorris)—anchor, Fox News."..
Robert Scoble (the conference host) said of his inspiration for the session, “I wanted to learn more about the election in Iran and the crisis and the violence that was spilling onto the streets. I couldn’t find anything on CNN. In fact, all I could find was Larry King talking to motorcycle mechanics.”
Can Twitter fill the vacuum? Yes and no seemed to be the answer. Yes --it is real time but no we cannot keep up with its furious pace--it takes time to validate what is being said and then form it into a coherent picture. As Ann Curry said the pace of the story is simply too fast for anyone to catch up. The other point she made seemed more important--Twitter --by giving us access to so many people we can choose to "follow" allows us to understand a story from a personal angle. This more personal approach to newsgathering is effecting old media. Ann Curry's "mandate"
"for news teams is that I want them to shoot every story like it’s about their mother, brother, sister, father, and cousin. Tell it that way. That’s the road to clarity, truth, understanding and fully becoming global.”
This brings the subject back to the need for all of us whether we are young and old to have a way of bringing different worlds into focus--as Jesse Kornbluth says In Head Butler (6/17/09)"politicians and pundits who, last year, wanted us to bomb Iran, no matter how many civilians we might kill, are now passionate defenders of the Iranian protestors and dissidents, many of whom would be dead if we had sent planes aloft." This is in part because we have through the magic of the media finally began to figure out these are people with hopes, dreams and aspirations like ourselves. As we get more of our news from Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube and all these other forms of social media--the ability to interpret, to judge, to evaluate sources is going to fall on the consumer and so we need to figure out better ways to help them build both global awareness and media interpretive skills.