Equation for success: Community+Message+Medium

Over the last several weeks I have closely followed the election process in Iran as I am sure many of you have. On any given day I have been concerned, mesmerized and even in shock. It’s been incredibly difficult to watch the violence and the protests. However, I have been encouraged by the community and support that has been consistently rallying on the social networks. I have even decided to show my support for the people fighting for democracy in Iran and change my twitter avatar to green along with 160,000 other concerned people.

I am amazed and excited about the community of support building globally. As a social media evangelist (my friends say twitter addict) daily I come into contact with someone who has nothing but negative things to say about Twitter, Facebook or the social web. Many times these are people who are not engaged in the social community at all and they have gathered their information from some naysayer.

The facts are that the US government recognizes the power of the social web -they reached out and asked twitter to hold off on maintenance. And I was thrilled to see Twitter agree to wait on their maintenance. The Iranian Regime sees the power of the social web or they wouldn’t have fought so hard to suppress and censor it.

But at the end of the day it’s not Twitter, or Facebook, or even MySpace that’s so powerful. It’s really community! It’s the masses that are willing to stand in support and willing to put the word out. It’s the message and there’s a large audience that not only hears and identifies with the message but is also willing to act. All in all, I think it’s the 1,2,3 punch that makes the social web so powerful: 1)community, 2)the message, and 3)the medium. In just a matter of seconds, you can mobilize a community or a country for support.

Can you imagine how much swifter things might have moved if our forefathers had such a powerful communication tool? They had the community, the message, and the medium. However, it took years to get the message out and rally the support.

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Beth Mulhern June 28, 2009 at

It is both critical in terms of getting information and emotionally moving that social media has come to the forefront as the primary means of communication regarding the current political situation in Iran. People ultimately yearn to share what is happening with each other, across the street, across the country, across the globe, and in this case, Twitter and other social media are facilitating that communication. It is exciting, and brings with it the same responsibilities as cross cultural journalism….data verification, ethics, thorough research, a critical eye. I am privileged to be living in this time and watching this phenomenon take root, grow and develop.

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