Twitter Spinning

By: pbcmedia

Jun 21 2009

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Photography, TWITTER


Focal Length:100mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

Over the weekend, my respect for the social media Twitter has risen from skepticism at its mind numbing details of little interest to belief in the power of 140.

140 characters, as slight as one silken spider’s thread, has communicated the streets of Iran.

©Pat Coakley 2009


12 comments on “Twitter Spinning”

  1. This is absolutely correct – the power of social media and networking is going to even change more than that, it will change the way countries will be looking at foreign policies in the future.

    Nice looking blog BTW :)

  2. Silken threads and I thought my screen had scratches on it.
    The efficacy of millions twittering will be only as valuable as the pressure put on dictatorships by outside opinion and policy.

    It surely does great damage to propaganda.

    A great post and photo once again.

    • ahoy, Bon Bon!! So nice to see your name in my queue! The silken thread was more observable prior to wordpress! Sometimes colors change, other times, details get washed out so they looked like scratches on screen.

      All I know is that whatever happens in the outside world, the Iranian current government will never be the same and, in part, because of this social media that I have up until now–thought pointless or worse, optional.

  3. The trouble with all forms of communication is noise. There is so much to wade through and so little of value to find.

    I’m very sceptical about what is happening in Iran and the information that is coming out of there. I can’t help but think about how the CIA and it’s rent a mobs overthrew Mosaddeq back in 1953 and the Shah was put into power to turn Iran into a client state of the US to the detriment of the Iranian people.

    If we look at the history of Mousavi, it’s obvious that he’s a ruthless and dangerous political opportunist that the west thinks it can do business with. If Mirhossein Mousavi ever gets into power in Iran, I’m pretty sure he’ll turn out to be just other, in a long line of puppets that will bite the hand that feeds him like so many others, cut of the same cloth as, Saddam Hussein or Noriega.

    What we are seeing in Iran, is not a struggle between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mirhossein Mousavi but a struggle in the background between the clerics, Rafsanjani and Khamenei.

    Don’t forget that it’s only the well to do in developing countries who have access to computers and that the “news” coming from Iran over the internet only represents the views of a minority and allegedly democracy is about the will of the majority.

    • Razz, I suggest you read an article by Tom Friedman today in the NYTimes. It gives to me, at least, some probable reasons why Mousavi, and why now for this resistance. Here is the link:

      The information coming out is complicated, some deliberately manipulative, but it is the volume that suggest patterns, links to photos elsewhere. You can be skeptical of texts, but if there are photos and videos, it is hard to dismiss all of it as orchestrated.

      I don’t believe this is 1953.

  4. I’m not suggesting that this is 1953 (but it sure smells fishy), but what I am suggesting is that what we are hearing in the west is coming through a filter and doesn’t necessarily represent the truth. I think that a lot of commentary here in the west is just wishful thinking on our behalf that bears little resemblance to what is actually happening.

    I think that Friedman’s piece is just more of the same old regurgitation of wishful thinking on the behalf of the west. His idea of a ” popular uprising” is very different to mine. He should qualify what he said by saying ” popular (in a small wealthy educated section of the population) uprising”. I also think what Friedman is suggesting is similar to the justifications for the backing of a so-called “popular” overthrow of Mosaddeq back in 1953

    Many so-called Iran experts were totally blind-sided be what has happened in Iran lately and as such I don’t really value their commentary.

    On our late news recently there was an amazing interview with ex-CIA agent, Robert Baer (the guy who was the basis of George Cloony’s character in Syriana) who had some very erudite things to say about what is going on in Iran. Here’s a link to a video that comes in two parts of that interview.

  5. Here’s the second part of the interview.

    • WOW! I’ve never seen YouTube videos in comments before!

      Ok, seriously, I’ve just woken up so will have to put on my serious hat in order to watch and respond. That requires at least an hour of consciousness, maybe more!

  6. Razz, Ok. I’ve watched both videos and really don’t see the difference between Baer and Friedman except that Baer had longer to explain some very interesting nuances and history. I don’t see the “fishy” aspect at all in his remarks, particularly any US fishiness…the clerics warring and the crack in the system is to me the take away from these videos as well as what I have watched over the last few weeks. If the current regime is undermined by all this it is not because anyone, including them, saw it coming. They thought they could control it…if they could have stopped it, they would have..ultimately, they might.. but the genie is out of the bottle. Obama’s response was “No matter who is in power, we have to deal with them” . I thought that was the correct response and certainly not pollyana about Mousavi’s spots.

    Another person I like to listen to (Baer is visible on US TV and I’ve always found him very interesting!) is Fareed
    Zachari…check YouTube for him. His take so far: no matter what happens with the current regime, the clerical hold on government is the true crack in the fabric.

  7. Getting back to Twitter… I, too, viewed it as the ultimate vehicle for superficiality for those with ever-shorter attention spans. It is that.
    But it now appears it can also be a new vehicle for the democratization of news and internal mass-movement communication. While there is no assurance of accuracy, it also throws off the blinders, over-simplification, and heavy filters we get with the mainstream media. Of course, as razzbuffnik points out, we are only hearing the voices of those with the access and technical ability to use the social networking sites (largely the young, educated and upwardly mobile). Still, that is a substantially different voice that what we hear through the corporate and/or governemnt-controlled media.
    In any case, the emergence of Twitter, Facebook and other social networks may turn out to be a revolutionary change. A million of those silken spider threads can be pretty strong.

    • Don, what blows me away is that in this instance we have had NO mainstream media because they have been stifled or sent packing after the election troubles. They were there in the lead-up but, although, CNN for example, may have reporters still in Tehran and other spots, they cannot file any reports or transmit any broadcasts. BBC has been totally shut down and sent out of the country. So, not only do these social media outlets circumvent mainstream media biases, it circumvents government controls on media. It may be that the young and upwardly mobile may be “heard” though this new media, but it is the imagery to me, not the commentary, that is the powerful force here.

      I am impressed with how many women I see on the streets there as well!

  8. I wasn’t saying anything about US fishiness in particular. What I was trying to say is that the media of just about any country likes to twist the news to fit it’s own agenda.

    Twitter has so much “noise” that it is to the internet what talk-back radio is to broadcasting. Today’s (22nd June 2009) Non Sequitur cartoon was particularly salient about the effect of such “news”.

    Here’s a link:

    As for Friedman v Baer I see quite a difference in what they have to say. To me Friedman is just mirroring western popular public opinion, whereas I found what Baer had to say was full of insight. In short, for me at least, Friedman, whilst not completely useless, wasn’t all that illuminating. Baer on the other hand, was pure gold. It’s great to listen to a real expert.

    By the way, please don’t mistake my sentiments as pro Ahmadinejad. I was in the US when he made his speech there, and I was amazed at what an incoherent nut bag the guy is. How a person who can’t string his ideas together in a logical fashion ever got into power mystifies me. He made Bush look good.

    Here in Australia we have been getting a few on the spot reports from foreign journalists showing the demonstrations and bloodshed but I’ve been struck by how small the crowds have been when one compares them to similar rallies in the Ukraine, Georgia and China during similar crisies. It doesn’t look all that “popular” to me. Don’t forget that many of the secular, educated Iranians left when the clerics started throwing their weight around.

    It’s going to be interesting to see if Mousavi’s support lasts. I suspect that if the current regime has any sense (it probably hasn’t), they will go through with a long drawn out recount until the whole thing looses steam, much like what happened in Zimbabwe.

    It also surprised me when I saw the videos in the comments. I guess those good people at WordPress have been changing things again. Bless ’em!

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