hash tags: #iranelection #gr88 #tehran
If Twitter is being used for the first time to provide a tool for revolutionaries, it, as a tool, has unnamed dangers. Those dangers have to be learned in the process of Twitter being used. As the dangers surface so do the reactive rules.
But the first rule regards by-standers:
Messages, requests, cries for help fly across the Twitter page in massive numbers. Confused by-standers in the process of witnessing through reading the history processing in front of their eyes find remaining a bystander difficult. People don’t want to be by-standers. They want to help, want to participate, be part of what is happening. The media form is too raw, the voices too direct.
So the First Rule of Twitter Engagement has to be: if you have no idea what’s going on, stay out of it. As enticing as it is to want to help, you can put others in harm’s way which is something many are learning now and over the last four or five days.
Next I offer, here, a list of rules as they were expressed by different voices who I have not identified. As they exist they are the new Rules of Engagement in using Twitter for any revolutionary operation. I’ve taken these directly from the Twitter posts.
Again to all who wish to help, PLEASE DO NOT BROADCAST PROXY SERVERS! Set them up but only DM to people in Iran #IranElection
Jun 15, 2009 11:58 PM GMT ·
Don’t overload #iranelection with things not about iran as it is becoming hard to follow and share news inside Iran
Jun 15, 2009 11:54 PM GMT
Iranian government is watching Twitter; when RTing Iranians, replace username with “Iran” (“RT from Iran”). #IranElection Please RT
Jun 15, 2009 11:57 PM GMT
Jun 16, 2009 11:40 PM GMT
Jun 16, 2009 11:58 PM GMT ·
These lessons of revealed names and addresses are obvious in retrospect but the use of the tool was so new that the realization that both censors and those who wished for a changed Iran could use the interface. Not only was Twitter being used as a means of getting information out – but as a way to track down the revolutionaries.
One of the more remarkable posters for me and one who caught my attention early on was @persiankiwi. @persiankiwi’s proxies were being broadcast in an attempt to keep lines open or to indicate which lines were shut down. Folks who wanted to help were providing available proxies in replies. But the government or the censors were blocking the IP’s as quickly as they were made available.
Here is one extended series of Tweets from @persiankiwi as this person (or persons) seemed to learn consequences of tweets as quickly as requests were being made. You should read from the last post up:
29. several arrests today after tracking thru twiter proxys – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web
30. any proxy addss shown on twitter is possible trap – freedom twitters in Iran DO NOT follow – YOUR LOCATION IS VISIBLE – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web
31. any proxy addss twittered is blocked almost immediately – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web
32. sorry for delay – no ISP could be accessed for long time – are now in a different location for very short time with ++ access #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web
At one point @persiankiwi asked if the world outside Iran had any sense of what was going on. Little did @persiankiwi understand that at that time those posts were the posts folks were getting information from.
We are all learning how this tool can be used. And in whose hands. Clearly the tool can be crafted by and for both sides in any political endeavor. As for by-standers, go ahead and watch, read, wear green, talk to each other. But if you aren’t, as @persiankiwi says,
DO NOT RT any other tweeters posts unless u are 100% sure they are GENUINE
And that knowledge is hard to come by on Twitter.