by Jill Robinson
As the violent situation in Iran escalates, I have been amazed at the ability of citizens to become journalists in a country trying to squash any form of media from escaping the country.
Reuters published an article today that stated Iran has more Internet connections than any country in the Middle East. We watch the Iranian protests unfold, informed by messages on Twitter, YouTube videos and cell phone pictures uploaded to the Internet, and I’m reminded that a new form of journalism is underway.
This ability to communicate information, all over the world, in a matter of seconds is amazing and frightening. What gives us the ability to inform, also creates the potential for panic. It is the responsibility of these new eye-witness reporters to respect this power, and media outlets to use this information wisely.
The Washington Post’s article “Iran Elections: A Twitter Revolution?” included a a discussion with Evgeny Morozov, blogger for Foreign Policy magazine and a fellow with Open Society Institute. He gave some great insight on the positive and negative sides to access to technology such as Twitter, and I recommend reading his conversation.
What I think is important is that as the world gets smaller with the use of social media and technology, it is more important than ever to be informed. And not just from “retweet” links and youtube videos, but from human to human connections, conversations, articles and pictures. Having an open mind about different cultures and ways of life comes from experience, personal trips, volunteering, reading or learning from others, and it is imperative in the shift from violence to peace.