Modova's "Twitter Revolution" (updated: and Thailand's).

Posted: 20 Apr 2009   Print   Send a link
"As several thousand protestors returned to the streets of Moldova's capital for a third day to protest the Communist Party victory in Sunday's elections, RFE/RL's Bureau Chief in Chisinau was receiving emails, text messages, and 'tweets' from organizers of the protests. 'The messages were spreading quickly and the senders were asking everyone to forward them to all the people they know,' said Vasile Botnaru, who manages RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau. Botnaru said it appears that text messaging and social networks like Facebook and Twitter played a key role in driving young people into the streets." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 8 April 2009.
     "Adrian Blajinski, a 21-year-old economics student at the Free International University of Moldova, has been protesting on Chisinau's main square. ... 'I tried to find out more information about the elections from Moldovan state television, but it was broadcasting only movies and comedy programs -- nothing about what is going on [with the protests]. The other information source for me has been information news sites. I managed to find one Internet site that had not been shut down yet -- because many of them have been shut down -- and it was there that I found out about the protest [on April 7] and that the main square was already full.'" RFE/RL, 8 April 2009. This RFE/RL report does not say if RFE/RL's own website was "shut down" or blocked .
     "Messages on Thursday said NGOs and student groups were planning protests at Avram Iancu Square and linked to YouTube videos of demonstrators reporting cases of abuse by the police. Using the searchable keyword #pman, named after Chisinau's central square's Romanian name Piata Marii Adunari Nationale, Twitter postings, called tweets, have flooded the online service so much that the protests have been dubbed the 'Twitter Revolution.'" Deutsche Welle, 9 April 2009.
     "The streets of Moldova and Georgia are boiling with protest and anger, while Kosovo continues to grapple with its self-proclaimed statehood. All three situations originate in the departure from the Cold War-era agreements respecting borders. We are witnessing the repercussions of the 'Kosovo precedent,' and they're not pretty." Peter Lavelle, political commentator for Russia Today, commentary at RFE/RL, 10 April 2009. "The views expressed in this commentary are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of RT or RFE/RL."
     Update: "As Evegeny Morozov, a fellow at the Open Society Institute, pointed out, Twitter’s more important role was getting the information out to the world, bringing it international attention and keeping the story alive and buzzing, as well as acting as a channel to push out user-generated content from on the ground. After some great immediate analysis of the Twitter scene in Moldova (which was a follow up to his initial, but still quite insightful assessment on Tuesday), Morozov found that there were actually very few registered Twitter users in the country, and he suspects that most of the Tweets on #pman were not on the ground and were elsewhere in the world, taking information and pushing it along." Kate Brodock, DigiActiv, 10 April 2009.
     "While most of technology pundits were debating the role of Twitter in stirring Moldova's protests, we may have missed how it was used (and misused!) in Thailand, where much larger protests were taking place. I've spent a lot of time researching the issue, trying to find any references to technologies that have been used to organize and cover protests, but I have found only a handful of blog posts, most of them discussing viral videos. ... I did manage to find, however, several posts on how Twitter was used by opponents of the protesters. ... That Twitter could be used for disinformation is not surprising. Just like any open network that anyone could join, it's open for manipulation by anyone with an agenda. I don't believe that social media inherently benefits the 'good guys' over the 'bad guys'" Evgeny Morozov, Foreign Policy net.effect, 17 April 2009.