Friday, June 19, 2009

What does it mean: Iran is just the tip of the iceberg #iranelection #gr88

Today, I had a talk with the CBS Evening News. Yesterday, it was NPR and, at some point, both asked the same question: what does all of the online activism going on in the Iranian election situation mean? It's a good question and I wanted to take a moment from my recent technical posts to answer it fully, publicly.

What's going on in Iran is indicative of a global shift. People all over the world are standing up and telling their government 'ENOUGH!'. They're tiring of oppression, they know there's a better way, and they're gutsy enough to try what many people think is impossible: starting a revolution that leads to change. We still don't know what the outcome of the Iranian protests will be, but we do know that, succeed or fail, these brave people who have been willing to put their blood and lives on the line for their country, have forever changed the game for oppressive governments.

In Iran, it was the perfect storm. Young, tech savvy, people with mobile phones, computers, and a strong anger towards a corrupt and unfair government, coupled with technology that easily allowed them to get their message to the masses, brought together with activist - sometimes first time activist - who were willing to help.

But the online outpouring of support to Iran is just the beginning. When one of the most oppressive regimes in the world sees an uprising of ordinary people, other oppressive regimes take notice. It becomes much harder to sell the 'oh how the world is against us all' party line when it's obvious that the world is willing to help. Governments like North Korea, China, and others, should be scared. The time of easily manipulated and controlled information has given way to highways like Twitter and Facebook, and YouTube, and people around the world, some of whom never know how they could help, are willing to do the most extraordinary things for their oppressed brothers and sisters.

In short, what the online groundswell of support towards Iran means is that things are different. People are different. Governments are pushed aside and people, ordinary people of all races, cultures, and religions, embrace. Because, regardless of where we come from or what our beliefs are, the one thing we all can unite behind is freedom.