Why Iran is selling the story of social media

If you’ve seen the news lately, then I’m sure you’ve seen the turmoil resulting from the June 12th presidential elections. Can you see how social media has changed the world and in part is changing the global political landscape? I have and here is why…

Right or wrong (and I’ll withhold my personal feelings on the subject other than to say I have great concern for the citizens and I’ve written to a consulate on the subject) the election results have stirred up tens or hundreds of thousands of citizens. You may know this already but 2/3 of Iran’s population is under 35. This means that most of the country is comfortable and most likely fluent in technologies on and off the web. They blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

Something tells me the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wasn’t as in tune to that fact as he could have been. Boy, does he have a nightmare on his hands…

The initial response to the uprising was to kick out all foreign journalists as the tried to quietly straighten things out. What they forgot about was the unprecedented collective communications power in the hands of their social media connected, camera phone wearing citizens.

By the thousands, photos, texts and videos were being instantly uploaded. CNN and other networks relaxed their own editorial processed by covering the events by using these unverified media elements.

This morning, I woke up and saw on the news that the the government of Iran has even responded by arresting and/or confiscating cell phones and recording devices.  Wow, if that’s not like unplugging your clock to try to stop time. I wonder if the the government really thinks it can control its entire population of young, hyper connected and fed up citizens?  If they do, I feel there days are numbered.

The reality is that the entire situation is proof positive that social media and technologies related to those are a force unlike anything we’ve encountered in human history.  There’s an old saying that I repeat every now and again…. “You can’t stop what can’t be stopped.”  I assume its a movie quote.  Are you listening Ayatollah?  Perhaps its time you do.

BOTTOM LINE

Whether you’re a country, region, city, company or even a person, you need to be well aware of what the potential impact of social media means to you.  This is particularly true of businesses.  Social Media applications can empower your customers, former customers, employees, distributors, partners and anyone else in ways you never thought possible in the past.  Be careful, watch closely, correct problems and be proactive.  If you act the way the Iranian government is right now, you’re going to run into incredible issues….

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