How Twitter-Based Was Iran's Twitter Revolution?

Writing in Foreign Policy, Golnaz Esfandiari disputes the popular notion that Iranian activists relied heavily on Twitter during the recent protests. Mehdi Yahyanejad, the manager of a popular Farsi-language website, said as much to the Washington Post last year: “Here [in the U.S.], there is lots of buzz,” he said. “But once you look, you see most of it are Americans tweeting among themselves.” Esfandiari points out that “good old-fashioned word of mouth was by far the most influential medium used to shape the post-election opposition activity.” Twitter also enabled the spread of various rumors and hoaxes – proof perhaps that the service isn’t quite ready to overthrow journalism? [%comments]

Chris Markl

The real problem is that we act like the information on twitter is only available to the Iranian people and NOT the Iranian government. This is completely untrue, thus just twitter makes it easier to organize a protest, rally, whatever, twitter also makes it just as easy for the government to find out about this behavior before it starts and be prepared to stop it.


Really? Twitter isn't all that useful? Wait, it's 1% useful information and 99% half-truths and other mindless, useless speculation and other drivel from people have lots to say but actually know little?

Wow, I'm really surprised.

brian t

And so the cycle repeats itself: hype, anti-hype, hype, anti-hype, hype, anti-hype, ad nauseum. There is no more "moderate", or "somewhat", or "average". We used to ask "is the glass half-full or half-empty?": these days the glass had better be full immediately - if not, it gets smashed.


There's also quite a bit of reason to dispute the entire notion that the elections in IRan were fixed or fraudulent. None of the fraud claims have panned out, and despite the wishful thinking of exile opponents to the regime, the protests have petered out too.


Twitter's usefulness for organizing demonstrations through SMS. In case of Iran, SMS was disabled for the entire period the two weeks demonstrations. There was no such a thing as organizing through Twitter. There were probably less than 10 twitter users living outside Iran who were translating news from blogs and Persian websites to English.

In fact, among micro-blogging platforms, it is FriendFeed which is popular in Iran and not twitter.