Saturday, June 20, 2009


CNN is getting its news from Twitter. The reporters and anchors right now are reading tweets on the air that come, apparently, from Iran.  

I've spent some time the last few weeks getting acquainted with Twitter, trying to find ways to make it useful or to be entertained by it.  It's a work in progress for me.  One of its powerful feature is being able to send photos with a tweet.  Lots of people use their phones to take and upload pictures for their tweets. It's these photo posts from Iran that are most compelling since they effectively authenticate the messages.  (Apparently, the Iranian government has had a difficult time preventing tweeting.) Another useful Twitter feature is its tagging/searching capabilities that allow you find all tweets on a topic (e.g. #iranelection), turning Twitter into a worldwide bulletin board organized by topic.

The subtitle*, by the way, is from a blog entry about a Twitter event. There's a long story behind it that I'm embarrassed to know all about and which I'm sure isn't of interest to normal people, so I'll spare you the details (presently almost accurately here).  In short, the Twitter world went nuts a few evenings ago, with people posting the hashtag #dannygokeyisadouche** in large enough numbers that it became the topmost trending topic on Twitter, more popular than the hashtag #iranelection which had been holding the top spot for days.  Of course, the gokey incident was just a silly internet event; but it was also a mini-anti-homophobia movement; a cathartic digital shout of "oh no you don't" to people hating on those who don't conform; and an example of the dangers of showing your true (bigoted and impolite) colors on Facebook etc. or being related to someone who does same. 
*You enter it wearing a pith helmet, thinking you’re on a fine, jolly new adventure, tally-ho, and you exit battered and bruised, wearing a busted football helmet and mismatched body armor and pads, clutching your cyberclub studded with nails.
**Danny Gokey was a contestant on Season 8 American Idol.

Update 6/21/09 11:15 am: NYT Week in Review comments on Twitter and its role in informing the world about events in Iran.

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