For companies, brands, organizations and people that ever doubted the value of social media as a powerful means of communication, the events of the last week in Iran must be an eye opening experience. Since the Iranian government has expelled almost all foreign correspondents the only news getting out of the country is being sent via social networks, namely Twitter.
What makes this particular situation different is that the content being shared on social networks is not remaining just on the social networks. Images and videos from inside Iran are being broadcast on television channels around the world – from CNN, to the BBC, to CBC.
The world is seeing the Iranian situation through the eyes of the Iranians. The news is coming from people living the event, not just reporting on it. This new free way to share information instantly around the world is forcing the Iranian government that has been accused of illegitimate actions in the past, to take notice and tread a little more carefully (witness the call for a review of some election returns by the clerics who run things there).
Some people and news outlets have called this the tipping point for Iran. Many feel that if ever Iran was going to throw off the cloak of old world thinking and reenter the world stage as a positive contributor that time is now.
Recent movements for positive change – the falling of the Berlin wall, the solidarity movement in Poland, the end of apartheid – have all come by way of people coming together, joining in the fight for change and slowly gaining the upper hand. It took communication; it took people understanding and drawing strength from their neighbours. With new technologies that enable anyone, anywhere in the world to instantly share their experiences through photos, videos or even their own voice, these movements now have the ability to do in days what used to take years.
It is hard to imagine this happening so quickly had it not been for Twitter, the killer social network with the silly name. Almost over night, a world that looked down on Iran has come to hope for it, to hope for its people. Some say that this could have all been possible without social media and they are right. Major change has happened many other times in our history without social media. However, a big contributor to the movement in Iran gaining momentum so quickly is because the people inside the country did not feel alone, they knew their messages were and are getting out and the people of the world are listening.
Many people are calling social networks a trend, and some aspects of it are trendy. There will always be a newer, hipper social network to be a part of, but social networks will always be there. The opportunities for communication that new media affords the world are just to great to ignore.
If you’re unsure how new media and social networks can benefit your business or organization, give Adam Dooley a call at 204-291-4092. We’d love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you to discuss the potential.