Wait, There Was No Twitter Revolution in Iran?
In Foreign Policy's intriguing "Misreading Tehran" series, FP asked prominent Iranian-Americans to "look through the fog of journalism at what actually happened in Tehran" in the wake of last year's historic election (and election aftermath). The series suggests that the American media got a lot wrong. For instance, we seem to have drastically overstated the impact of Twitter:
Simply put: There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran. As Mehdi Yahyanejad, the manager of "Balatarin," one of the Internet's most popular Farsi-language websites, told the Washington Post last June, Twitter's impact inside Iran is nil. "Here [in the United States], there is lots of buzz," he said. "But once you look, you see most of it are Americans tweeting among themselves."
As the author sees it, although Twitter played a big role in spreading word about events in Iran around the world, "good old-fashioned word of mouth was by far the most influential medium used to shape the postelection opposition activity." So to over emphasize the importance of Twitter is a rather terrible slight to "the Iranians who have made real, not remote or virtual, sacrifices in pursuit of justice."