June 17th, 2009



"When we worked with our network provider yesterday to reschedule this planned maintenance, we did so because events in Iran were tied directly to the growing significance of Twitter as an important communication and information network," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in a blog post.

"Although presumed impossible if not extremely difficult, we decided together to move the date. It made sense for Twitter and for NTT America to keep services active during this highly visible global event," he said.

State department spokesman Ian Kelly confirmed there were contacts with Twitter over the weekend, but strongly rejected that it amounted to meddling in Iranian internal affairs.

"This is about giving their voices a chance to be heard. One of the ways that their voices are heard are through new media," Mr Kelly said.

Mr Stone said "it's humbling to think that our two-year old company could be playing such a globally meaningful role that state (department) officials find their way toward highlighting our significance.

"However, it's important to note that the state department does not have access to our decision making process," he said.


I have been following some of the Iranian Tweeters as they tweet what's going on around them and what they are seeing and what they are doing. It seems important to just be there to read it. To be part of the reason they are communicating. To make sure that they are heard.

Sometimes it's a bit frightening and it does sort of make the rest of the crap people are tweeting kinda pathetic and mundane.

But I guess my point is this ... to all those who were "what is it? I don't need it? Who wants to read about you getting up to go get a sandwich?" about Twitter, I say this - sometimes you don't know the point of a new technology til someone figures out what it can be best used for. And sometimes, you really want to know that the person was able to get up and go across the room and get a sandwich.

To the Iranian protestors who can't read this because the Government is filtering all internet access - my thoughts and prayers go out to you. I'm praying that you will be safe and that your voices will be heard. And my heart is in my mouth every time I read your twitter updates - thank Gpd they are still coming!


jonathanstrahan to me: I know what's wrong with you, you haven't blogged yet. You don't normally go this long between blog posts.


I have a severe case of the blahs. I spent several hours last night replying to emails - I think I worked through about 50 - and that felt good to get sort of on top of at least the inbox. I don't delete or file anything until I have actioned whatever the email is about. So if it's slush, that has to be sorted. If it's a draft of a story, it might need to be edited. It might be a long personal email to reply to. It might be orders for books. They all get funnelled into the one email address and await there for action. (And that's my number in the gmail status window - the current number of emails waiting for action).

But I still have a bunch of yucky things to do - finish updating my CV, apply for a couple of jobs and grants. Decide if I am going to one of my closest friends' wedding in Canberra on Conflux weekend. Exercise. Sort a bunch of pending items. Figure out what all the things that are white noise and annoying me should be added to my to do list. Tidy up my house. Finish editing two books. Sooooo much TPP stuff to catch up on.

I got a case of the blahs. And the I don't wannas.

I just don't wanna.

and in other news

Nominations are now ready to be accepted by the Aurealis Awards Coordinator. This year I'm judging on the illustrated works/graphic novels panel and am looking forward to that.

I'm a bad dog mum - I spent the hour between 2 and 3 am telling Benji to be quiet, even so loudly as to hurt my throat, only to give up and see if maybe he wanted to go outside. Poor thing was busting to pee. In my defense, he was lying on the bed and every 5 mins or so would let out one half-arsed bark.

I ate pasta bake for every lunch and dinner this week. I finally have the last piece for lunch today and am giving Benji the very last piece for dinner tonight. I might cook something completely different just ... to be out there!

And finally, the opposing opinions of one girliejones and one jonathanstrahan behind the cut and concerning the cover art I posted yesterday.

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Link to the original piece of art here.
alisa green

Our first cyberwar

And are you watching it? Participating in it?

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.