Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Roots of Digital Technology and Revolution: Tweets, texts and internet in the former Eastern Bloc

The world's first 'Twitter Revolution,' Chisinau, April 2009.

Last night I was talking Iran with some Ukrainians who took part in their own Color Revolution, the 2004 Orange version. Between sips of a bitter local brew, they reminisced about realtime reporting and SMS strategies like they were old school- like, sooo... pre-Twitter.

Overblown as the role of digital technology in protest movements seems to be (vs. will, access, funding, education...), their histories must indeed be instructive for the current moment.
And the strategies of this "first online revolution" have been explored in detail by Harvard Internet and Democracy guru Joshua Goldstein, here


Ukraine's elaborate 2004 election protests were among the first to be organized with the help of the internet (photo by Janice Papar).

Protester's now famous Tent City on Kiev's main avenue during the 2004 Orange Revolution (photo by Janice Papar).

Meanwhile, five years and a few color revolutions later, Andrew from Romania at Web Upd8 mused, "If you asked me about the prospects of a Twitter driven revolution in a lo-tech country like Moldova a week ago, my answer would probably be a qualified 'no.' Today, however, I am no longer certain."

Twitter was incorporated into the Moldavian protest strategy months before Iran.

That was on April 7th, months before the current Twitter-fueled situation in Iran began to unfold. Moldavian reformers had already added to the Ukrainian model. And the results were mixed. More on the role of Twitter, texts and blogs, etc. in Moldova's 2009 insurrection, here. And on strategies and potentials of digital activism in general, here.


2 comments:

Mona said...

Interesting stuff! Oh and hopefully about a week away for new computer so i will be able to burn those discs 4u.
PS: how do you cross out a word in blogger like you did with castration in the next posr?
Yrs baffled w regards/

fucoid said...

hey mona, you just add html tags to your source code on either side of the word(s). use 's' for strike through.

blogger doesn't allow the code in this comment box.

you can see here:

http://www.chedspellman.com/2007/09/using-strikethrough-font-in-blogger.html