Clay Shirky on Twitter+Iran

Useful Q&A at the Ted Blog with NYU professor Clay Shirky on the role of Twitter and social media in the disputed Iran election. There’s lots of good stuff here about a new medium inventing itself in real time. My favorite is the McLuhanesque commentary about how media get more emotional as they speed up.
Whether or not we are using Twitter or some other social app a few years hence, it seems clear to me that we’ve crossed a threshold where the household penetration of fast internet, personal computers, smartphones, and web-based social apps is sufficient that huge numbers of people can organize themselves in real time in response to real world events much, much faster than traditional media, much faster than mainstream journalism, and even faster than government censors or national security. That’s significant. We’ll never go back to a time when a few programming executives at the big networks could decree what the masses would watch. The shoe is on the other foot. It’s a two-way world.

Control has shifted out to the end of the value chains, to the creators at the point of origin and to the consumers at the opposite end. And now they are able to create a collaborative feedback loop that grows in power and frequency with every successive event.
The revolution will not necessarily be televised (depends upon whether or not the network can get a camera crew in) but it will certainly be recorded on cellphones, laptops, smartphones, digital camera and other consumer grade webcasting equipment. And it will be shared worldwide, instantaneously, on every device with an IP layer. The cat is out of the bag, the horse has left the barn. We’re never going back.

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