The upheaval after Iran's election
has proved that the Internet has evolved from being the handiest purveyor of smut and knock-off Jimmy Choos to an instrument that enables people in Louisville to influence events in Tehran.
This two-part series focuses on what you can do. Read Part 2
to read about using media pressure and Tor.
Part 1, Twitter
is one of the best sources of news about The Iran, especially after most mainstream media outlets got chucked out of the country faster than Karen Sypher would get tossed from a Pitino family dinner.
Without a Twitter account, you can access the service to passively consume information by following the #iranelection hash tag
But once you sign up for a Twitter account
,you can contribute in ways ranging from showing support to raising awareness to actually being of use.
Show your support by making your profile picture green
In Settings > Picture
, you can upload a photo to your profile. The powers that assign colors to revolutions and uprisings have determined that this one has a green hue. No need for Photoshop, you can tint your photo at HelpIranElection.com
. (Ease: 9 out of 10. Helpfulness: 1 out of 10.)
Confuse ayatollahs by changing your location to Tehran and time zone to GMT + 3:30 Tehran
Making these changes in Settings > Accounts
supposedly will hinder Iranian government officials' ability to determine which Tweets are originating from within the country and track down the dissidents. (Ease: 10 out of 10. Helpfulness: 4 out of 10.)
Spread the good word by reTweeting useful information
Part of the reason the media is sticking with this story and not focusing even more on that trashy couple who OD'd on fertility treatments is the amazing amount of attention the Iran election is getting from Twitter's users.
"#iranelection" has been amongst the top subjects on Twitter since the election; maintaining that prevalence should help ensure continued media coverage.
Plus, reTweeting breaking stories, such as the video of Neda Agha-Soltan's murder
, informs your Twitter followers about breaking developments. (Ease: 8 out of 10. Helpfulness: 3 out of 10.)
Save lives or take down Web sites by sharing your expertise
Know Farsi? Know first aid? Always wanted to participate in a denial-of-service attack but never had the opportunity? Occasionally calls go out on Twitter for info of immediate use to protesters in Iran that you might be able to answer. (Ease: 2 out of 10 (you'll need to scan through a lot of Tweets). Helpfulness: 9 out of 10.)