When I came across this video, I was fascinated with the potential that it shows. Give it a watch, and then come right back.
(in case you didn’t watch: the throughline is that the young and alternative of Iran are using blogs as a way to communicate and share things that their current social and political structures don’t approve.)
The Internet is already a dominant method of communication for many. Between Facebook, Twitter, or the host of other social networking or instant messaging systems, the strengthening of bonds between the people you (probably) already know has been cemented. Other information-based industries, like newsgathering or entertainment, are starting to embrace the concept of what digital distribution can mean.
But the dream of communicating with people across the world? More like sending a message through the internet to someone across the hall, scheduling the time to go see a movie. In a large part, we talk to people we already know, or who we know are ‘like’ us. Politically, ideologically, or even in terms of preference for entertainment. Most of the arguments and flamewars on messageboards and web groups are friction within a group of people already under one banner.
This ‘nation of bloggers’, speaking to each other and the world, is a glimmering of the ability to reach beyond. As we start interconnecting across the world, we are forced to start considering that problems affecting people somewhere else can affect us, too. It also shows that the hardest thing to control is thought. Despire the violence and restrictions placed on them, these bloggers communicate in an act of bravery and liberation. In the current global economic crisis, the worst thing we could do is ignore the voices of others.
What kinds of decisions would we make if we knew someone in the midst of a war zone or a riot, someone whose life we’d been following and sharing? How would we feel if suddenly they stopped appearing in your Facebook?
(Ultimately, all of this idealism is undermined by the fact that the video doesn’t actually provide any links to prominent Iranian blogs. But I’ll trust your powers of Google to track a few down.)