The social media sphere is a place of constant interruption. Therefore it's no surprise then that many of the 2.0 related conferences we attended this week in NYC were structured around the theme of disruption (the Wired Business Conference actually put the word 'disruptive' in the title). At Jeff Pulver's 140 Characters Conference panelists could hardly get a word in edgewise due to overwhelming “engagement,” the audience/panelist interaction becoming a flesh-based version of the Twitter platform itself.
Ironically, the Twitter service was disrupted on Wednesday, synchronous with the US government's decision to implore Twitter to not shut down during the Iranian election protests. Pro-Mousavi protesters had been using Twitter to communicate and elicit a groundswell of support, while many debated that the support was not as large as the online multipliers and proliferation of hashtags would suggest (even “Internet hate machine” Anonymous put up a website rallying support).
Many of the 140 Characters attendees ascribed to the #iranelection meme, showing their support by changing their avatars to green or their profile locations to Tehran. Which lead Diplomacy & Cultural Collaboration panelist Rita J. King to posit whether obfuscating information in this manner was ethical.
There is no question that when the State Department attempts to regulate a technology platform that it itself does not use, a larger revolution is already underway. As CNN correspondent and #140conf speaker Ann Curry decreed, “the question is, 'Is the mainstream media covering the world enough?” and the answer is 'No.'”
Twitter has changed the nature of communication, period. Even the closest thing a conference based on short form communication can get to a keynote speaker, musician Wyclef Jean, was wearing a green sweater in honor of the Iranian protesters. LAWeekly.com got an exclusive interview with him on the power of social media after his talk, presented to you in bursts less than 140 seconds.