Twitter is gobbling up eyeballs as fast as newspapers are losing them. Everyone from Facebook to Google supposedly wants to buy it; the Kutcher/King feud made headlines; even the State Department treats Twitter with respect. Although people question whether Twitter is earning any money, it’s earned its legitimacy.
What’s going on in Iran represents a sea change in the media, with Twitter at the tipping point, pushing the envelope as hard as the opposition is pushing to topple the government.
I’m not a pundit, not a professor—and claim no expertise, just experience. I was on the inside during the infancy of TV news when the first live cameras came into use. And I remember how this dramatically altered the news—once we could go to a story and broadcast it live without having to go back to the station and wait for the film to be developed. (yes, I’m that old.)
I’m also old enough to remember some other significant milestones—-including Vietnam, the first television war. Embedded journalists. Citizen journalists. This week in Iran combines the last two: Embedded citizens covering the news is taking journalism to a whole different level. Twitter—simple for anyone to master, yet impossible for anyone to manage— is rewriting the history of history in several senses of the word. It could erase the lines between the story and the subject maybe forever.
The world is getting news from people who might be no more qualified to report it than people like I am to evaluate it. But in an age when anyone with a computer can start a viral epidemic, all bets are off.
As Twitterers stand in solidarity with the people of Iran—much of Twitter is turning green.….in addition to being the color of the opposition party , ironically it’s also the color of money.
When 140 characters can unite people across the globe, it’s proof that we’re all in this together. As for Twitter, I admit I’m addicted , but also a little addled— in this new world that is brave—and a little blurry.