Tuesday, August 18, 2009

# Posted 6:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

TWITTER WILL VANQUISH EVERY TYRANT: Jon Last sharply questions the Twitter-euphoria generated by recent events in Tehran. In spite of rose-tinted predictions that historians would celebrate Twitter's liberation of Iran and the beginning of a new era of global politics, the streets are now quiet in Tehran, the result of traditional head-bashing.

Jon argues that this overestimation of Twitter's political influence is very much a product of the Web 2.0/social netorking mindset, which encourages users to see themselves as the center of the universe.

I think there's a broader trend here, as well. Americans have an old habit of celebrating technology as the hand-maiden of freedom. Ten years ago, internet enthusiasts celebrated Web 1.0 in the same way that they exult about 2.0 today. Remember when everybody was saying that the internet would bring democracy to China?

Even if the June uprising sounded the death knell for the current dictatorship in Tehran, we should resist the temptation to give all the credit to Twitter. In almost every great uprising, the newest technologies play surprising roles. Twenty years ago, we were surprised by the role that fax machines played in raising awareness of events in Tiannanmen Square.

But what really drives these revolutions is a traditional and persistent desire for freedom.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
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