June 21, 2009
K. L. Romo

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Tehran in Tragedy…The Twitter Reporters

I only realized it now, with the terrible situation in Tehran, how social media and the internet is playing such a big part in global politics.  No longer can oppressive governments quash the reports of journalists.  Or maybe they can, but they cannot totally suppress all first-hand reports, pics, and videos of people who are there.  Who are watching, and hearing, and seeing their people get abused by their authoritarian government.  Email, and YouTube, and Twitter now make it possible for news and information to travel at the speed of light.  Now the world can see and hear the abuse as it happens, and network with supporters all over the globe.

However, it appears that ability comes with a price.  A woman with the Twitter screen name Mirriaam was reporting via Twitter during the last few days of violence, and then yesterday, her account was discontinued.  Just like that.  Apparently without a word from her to anyone in the Twittersphere.  Many people are worried about her.  Maybe, and hopefully, she discontinued her own account for safety reasons.

But maybe not.  I might understand her cell phone or computer being confiscated, but how would her account just disappear?  We all  hope she is OK and just laying low.

Twitter has certainly brought the real-time reality into my direct line of vision.  Now it’s not just the news reporting from half a globe away, but real people who are living it – sending us the sad testimony of their oppression, right to our phones and laptops.  In essence, we are plunged into the action, but from a distance which is safe.  While the courageous Twitterers in Tehran are not.  But thanks to them, the world is watching.

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