I have been riveted to the demonstrations in Iran. I haven't turned on my television set once. I've been watching the reports from the protesters and their supporters on Twitter. As you're probably aware, Twitter delayed a planned maintenance shut down because Iranian activists needed to be able to use Twitter as a way to communicate with one another in order to plan their real-time activities. It was one back-channel that was going unmonitored (for a while) by the militia. Twitter was the first wave of mobilization. Soon many Web site proxies sprang up, enabling Iranians to get uncensored news out of the country and to communicate with one another. It's now a global support movement with citizen journalism ahead of the "real" press—many of whom have been thrown out of the country. It's inspiring to see so many people rallying to support the Iranian demonstrators and activists.
I have only one question: Why aren't we using social media and galvanizing world opinion to support activism in this country? As one person tweeted, "Why didn't we protest the U.S. 2000 and 2004 elections in the same way that the Iranians are protesting their election results?"
Why do we let the traditional media and corporate PR and advertising dollars shape our national dialogue about important issues like healthcare? I wonder if American activists could make more progress for their respective causes if we focused on galvanizing the attention of the global social media? In the U.S., we tend to pay more attention to U.S. pundits than we do to the voices of outrage and support in other parts of the world. Tweet on!