I am utterly captivated by it.
A couple of years ago now ... hmmm could have been 7 or 8 (man I am getting old) I was watching Oprah (shut up, I like it) and Danny Devito was on there talking about a program that he was involved with that was working to disseminate as many personal videocameras - camcorders I guess - to people in ... other countries.
And at the time I was really puzzled as to why the hell you would spend a lot of money on a project like that? I totally didn't understand it. I think he explained it at the time but it's only been in the years since, as I have watched the way our world and our media has changed, that I actually now understand how freaking awesome and forward thinking the idea was.
Thing is, the thing about our generation is ... technology is racing forward, getting ever cheaper and more accessible. We didn't need to spend 1 - 2k on hand held cameras to disseminate ... out there ... cause for some crazy reason which I never understood, they put cameras in mobile phones. And that brought us - the final moments of Sadaam Hussein as he was hanged, the explosions of those bombs inside the London Tube and right now, as I type this, the protests and violence in Tehran.
Devito was right. One of the most important and powerful things we could ever do is democratise media - the ability to record what is happening to you right in this instant (though not me, right now - no pants) and then upload it to the internet so that someone else can download it and witness it.
So right now, the Iranian Govt is trying to clamp down on the protests about the election results. They are trying to control the media and are stopping all international reporters from being able to record and transmit the news. All journalists are now on 10 day non-renewable visas. People inside Iran are documenting what is happening as it is happening - by text and by image - and are uploading it to the internet. They are making sure that their stories are being told, seen and heard. They are using the most modern, and perhaps up til last week, considered most frivolous of networking tools on the internet - Facebook, Youtube, Blogs and Twitter.
And as the Govt continues to crack down on people, the internet is becoming increasingly more vital. The Govt is filtering the sites that can be accessed inside Iran but as they are doing this, people are constantly looking for new ways to get the message out - they are using proxies and email and being sent new free software and doing whatever they can to post and send imagery and words out of Iran. And these methods are changing from hour to hour as the Govt chases them across the internet and shuts sites down. Twitter and Facebook are being used as a means to coordinate efforts both in terms of protesting and also as instructions for how to bypass the censors. Tweeters on Twitter are retweeting 100s of messages a minute to update and pass the information around so that those inside Iran can use the means of the hour to communicate with the outside world.
It's mindblowing to watch. I am retweeting (RT) what I can in order to maybe help. And I have changed my own Twitter settings to Tehran time, as many are doing, to help add confusion to the Govt filters. People on Twitter are changing their icons to green in solidarity of the movement for change in Iran.
There is a revolution happening and it's on the internet. If nothing else, right here, right now the very first cyberwar is happening and it's happening in real time and you can watch it.
The future is now. And it's exceedingly cool.
Gpd speed and solidarity to those brave people inside Iran risking all to voice their dissent and to make sure that the world was forced to listen.