The Twitter Revolution – Free Bird or Jail Bird?

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April 2010

nthWORD– According to a 2009 Pew Research Study, 63% of Americans polled no longer trust the mainstream media to convey the truth about critical issues and think the delivery of the news is either inaccurate or biased due to powerful corporate influences. As this skepticism grows, more people are turning to the Internet for their information. The Internet has served as the bastion of free speech since its inception and has provided a forum for common citizens to globally disseminate information.

If Sigmund Freud were alive today, he would probably say that increasingly popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter serve as the ultimate self projection of the ego, consisting of insignificant and superficial status updates of Joe blogger’s mundane daily life.

However, the use of these sites has dramatically transformed the way our generation now communicates, most notably with Twitter’s invention of “microblogging,” a simple news feed confined to a 140 character limit. In the political arena, the utility of Twitter has undergone a complete metamorphosis from utter insignificance to explosive relevance in terms of maintaining free speech and addressing censorship and repression at home and abroad.

During the 2009 disputed presidential election in Iran, web savvy Iranians used Twitter to bring messages and photos from the streets of Tehran to the rest of the world. The Iranian government’s ban on embedded journalism from “unauthorized” demonstrations within the country resulted in limited foreign news coverage and virtually no access to information during the unrest. Dubbed the “Green Revolution” by the media, news organizations from across the board began reporting on “tweets” coming out of Iran, praising the citizens for their bravery to get the truth out despite the government’s attempts to censor the unfolding events.

Read more about the Twitter Revolution at nthWORD

Abby Martin is a freelance writer for nthWORD magazine, citizen journalist, activist and artist living in Oakland, CA. You can find more of her writing at and view her artwork at

Read more of Abby’s views here.

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