Persiankiwi's Twitter

Twitter: A Crucial Medium For Iranian Resistance

The utility of Twitter is no longer debatable. Yesterday, we saw just how important it was in giving a means of communication to the voiceless in Iran, a country where authorities have shut down every other means of conventional communication with the outside world. Through open proxies posted on Twitter throughout the day, Iranian bloggers were able to post news and photos of a massive and, at times, violent demonstration in the streets of Tehran.

The role of Twitter has become so vital that a "critical network upgrade" was postponed last night. At 7:00 pm EST, Twitter Co-founder and Creative Director Biz Stone announced the postponement and the reason for it,
In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.


Although media sources were following various Iranian bloggers throughout the day for news, I saw that Change_for_Iran was confirmed to be physically in that country by Twitter CEO Evan Williams. This was the only confirmation that I saw on Monday. Many Twitterers voiced their suspicions yesterday as to whether certain bloggers were actually in Iran. Initially, I, too, was concerned about authenticity, but nevertheless found my self drawn in by persiankiwi.

And like most people, I was conflicted about wanting to know more about this individual's identity. On the one hand, I was curious and looked for clues in the updates, while on the other, I didn't want any disclosure to put the blogger in harm's way.

While I was reading persiankiwi's posts, I saw no indication of the gender of this blogger, but for some reason I thought she was a woman (What do you think reader?) Or was it because I could not associate a kiwi with a man? ...A parent from New Zealand, perhaps.

The only signs I saw that our blogger had not learned English in North America, or at a Canadian or US school, was her use of "Uni" for University and "mobile" for cell phone, two expressions which to me are decidedly British.

The capture on the left gives updates persiankiwi posted in the last hours before she and her group had to separate and change location on Monday night. (Click on the capture to enlarge.)

All the best to the gutsy bloggers of Iran.

Tabriz and Isfahan are major Iranian cities. Evin is a Tehran prison for political prisoners.


SilvanaMondo | December 29, 2009 at 12:44 AM

I remember this week so vividly Heather! In reading your post now for the first time I remember having almost the same sentiments towards Persiankiwi..wondering who it was, male or female, although I too was convinced it was a woman. There are PK tweets I wanted to retweet but was worried that I might put that person in harm's way, not yet well acquainted with twitter and what the outcomes could be. Then I remember someone admonished me for RTing something from Iran and after that I hesitated for months, feeling shame and fear of putting a person's life in danger. Oh my gosh, it seems like such a long time ago. It has been a tremendous year, in many ways, that is for sure. Thank you for reminding me of some of the highlights. Also, it has been a pleasure to meet so many like minded (and not)ppl on Twitter. And you are one. Look forward to more tweets in the future. Silvana

Heather | December 29, 2009 at 8:49 AM

This was indeed an exciting time on Twitter. I, too, can remember it like it was yesterday. I felt punished when I had to go to work, where there are no social networking sites. Thanks for dropping in Silvana

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