Political insurrection is never solely driven by technology. But it is profoundly changing the landscape of modern protest—in favour of those fighting for democracyby Clay Shirky / January 6, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
President Ahmadinejad: the Iranian regime is more than willing to temporarily prevent citizens from using social networks
In “Why the internet is failing Iran’s activists” Evegeny Morozov argues that the protests which took place in the streets of Tehran in November 2009 may not have been triggered by social media—a sentiment with which I am in complete agreement. Just as the printing press didn’t exclusively cause the Protestant Reformation, the source of those protests in Tehran, as with all protests, was the willingness of the people to defy their government. This does not mean, however, that those protests were like all previous ones, save for the slogan—which in 2009 was notably directed against dictatorship, rather than the traditional “death to America” sentiment. The crucial point to glean from the protests of 2009 is that, just as the Protestant Reformation was shaped by the printing press, the Iranian insurrection was and is being shaped by social media.