I joined twitter in the summer of 2009 for one reason: the protests in Iran. Go ahead, check my profile @JoelTurman. My profile picture still has the green shading I gave it as a show of solidarity with the Iranian people. Since then I’ve tweeted a few things a followed some funny and interesting people, but the social media platform was never as fascinating as when it documented a national movement in real time.
If you do not recall Iran in 2009, Ahmadinejad had just “won” reelection and many, especially the younger generation, accused the regime of corruption and election rigging. Crowds took to the streets in droves well into late summer, and unrest continues to linger today. What became so enthralling about the protests besides the bravery and dedication of the people in standing up to their government was that they were documented in real-time by young students throughout Tehran who posted to Twitter. Some of the more prolific bloggers include @oxfordgirl and @persiankiwi.
As I mowed lawns that summer, I recall checking my phone often to see what was happening on the other side of the world. I could be on the front lines of the movement, witnessing the struggle and perseverance of a people without relying on the television to tell me how to feel about it. Twitter has a lot of potential to be a microphone for narcissists, but it aslo can be a platform for those outside of the state and the media to make their struggle known.