Tweets from Tehran touch the heart

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I wonder if Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone – founders of Twitter – ever envisioned that their cute microblog would become the mouthpiece of an oppressed people in the Middle East.

Social media has empowered Iran’s citizen journalists to circumvent their nation’s draconian and ever-encroaching media censorship. It’s giving them a direct line to broadcast their voices across the globe.

The tweets sent from the streets of Iran are a universe away from the banalities that we post from the comfort of a Western democracy.  These poignant bursts of defiance have become a regular feature in our broadsheet coverage of the crisis. They are where I look first for the truest reflection of what is happening day to day. 

I have no appetite for viewing the real time death of a young Iranian female student on YouTube. But it’s remarkable to see how rapidly this footage has mobilised opposition across Iran and throughout the world.

It’s also fascinating to watch how social media tactics have become so mainstream, that the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are adopting similar mechanics on the ground. Who’d have thought they’d be shooting on mobile phones in the backs of cars or by way of hidden cameras and then posting coverage on social media sites?

The outpouring of texts, tweets and video from Tehran has sparked a worldwide solidarity movement that its regime, for all its brute force, is powerless to stem. Let’s pray that the social media revolution will bring about the democratic rights which the people of Iran are now demanding.