(It Will Be Live, And On Your Phone)
Almost 40 years ago, Gil Scott-Heron wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” reflecting on conflicts in American society that arose in the 1960s; specifically, the song focuses on equality for blacks as well as the Vietnam war. In the intervening decades, the influence of mass media like television networks has begun to wane, giving way to the power of personal digital networks.
The uprising in Iran in June 2009 illustrates the power of the real-time Web, giving credence to Scott-Heron’s closing lyric: “The revolution will be live.”
Earlier analysis: What Do We Really Know About Iran’s Elections?
Kathy E. Gill is a senior lecturer at the University of Washington, Department of Communication, specializing in the social web, from blogs to Twitter. She holds degrees in journalism and agricultural economics; her research interest focuses on how digital technologies facilitate challenges to institutions of power, from the press to politics. This summer, her masters-level students researched how Twitter is changing the way organizations communicate with various audiences; their project will be published as an edited volume this fall.