Brenda Cooper

The Power of the Net

If you’re not on twitter watching the #iranelection or just searching for “iran” which will catch it all, you’ve missed a worldwide conversation.  A worldwide emotional reaction.   This morning, I feel connected to the people in Iran.  I’m glad they have this tool, which was missing from Tiananmen square.  It may or may not be enough, but it has changed the game.  And I feel like I’ve been part of it.

  • I have engaged a tiny bit in moving it along (by passing along information)
  • I’ve got a green face on twitter now
  • I’m wearing green

This isn’t all about me.  It’s about the thousands or hundreds of thousands of people watching and listening and sending on information.  It’s about enough pressure on Twitter to postpone maintenance because it is the most effective tool in the hands of Iranian protesters. It’s about people using green icons on twitter to show support.  And that the people who aren’t interested, are talking about other things that are important.  Some of us are talking about multiple topics.  It’s an active multi-threaded critical conversation that just might change the world.

Reading about the protests on Iran as they occur (and watching almost real-time video on YouTube) on the streaming web, I’m fascinated and connected and curious.  I hear and see anger and support, love and fear, hatred and hope.  Mostly in 140 character bursts.  Who woulda thought?

Yes, there is undoubtedly information and mis-information, chaos, and even danger in this conversation.  There is disagreement.

But that’s what it is to be human.  A few years ago, I read David Brin’s nonfiction book “The Transparent Society.”  It changed how I look at a lot of things.   Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to actually get to know David.  He’s irascible and brilliant and often right.  He characterizes us (humans) as brilliant, optimistic, capable, and brave.   The last few days show that. They also show a central theme of Brin’s book, which is that transparency and a lack of privacy, while scary to many of us, create freedom and accountability.  The more we know about others, the more we know they are us.

2 Responses so far

  1. 1. C. Sän Inman

    “The more we know about others, the more we know they are us.”

    That’s brilliant, Brenda. And I’m really glad to find someone else on my reading list is as excited about the potentially world-changing use of technology as I am.

  2. 2. Brenda Cooper

    Hi San,

    It’s probably not even original, but it is true.

    The Internet exposes us to each other, which usually has the affect of helping us each understand the other.