Social media has not only exploded in the U.S. during the past decade, but it is now a global phenomenom as well — even in places with radically different cultures from America’s, such as the Middle East. One of the most fascinating, more recent examples of this is when last summer (2009), the media was closed off to covering the protests of the Presidential election in Iran, but news about what was happening still traveled the globe to people who needed to know about what was happening via Twitter.
Professionally, for me this a powerful example of how the rise of social media has impacted “real world”, serious issues, and one that I use to demonstrate to my clients to show them the actual impact an effective tool like Twitter can have. Personally, this defines the main reason I am passionate about communications as my chosen career path: to affect public perception and positive social change through communications.
So, probably needless to say, for this blog entry, I was excited to visit Global Voices to explore the recent social media activity in another country whose culture is very different from my own: Jordan.
Everything that I found in the Global Voices community about Jordan’s social media activity was really interesting, but what was most interesting was the activity surrounding the recent parliamentary election held in Jordan on November 9. (Also especially fascinating since the frenzy of social media about Iran last year was related to an election also).
One particular blog post about the recent Jordanian Parliamentary election was written by an author/user named Betsy. Betsy seems to have posted a lot on the comprehensive Jordan page of Global Voices, but this post was one of the best ones. Titled “Jordan: Tweets Cover Parliamentary Flaws,” it recounts how Twitter user and Jordanian citizen Naseem Tawarnah (who describes himself as a citizen journalist in his Twitter bio) provided up-to-the-minute live updates of allegations of violence and voting fraud throughout the day of the election. Here is an example of one of Naseem’s election day Tweets:
Armed men block voters from getting to polls in Mafraq. More forged ID cards found in Ramtha. Oh Joy. http://is.gd/gRnRz #JOelections
The main reason I find a blog post describing something like this so amazing is because it was a personal, real-time account of what was actually happening in a community in Jordan regarding the election, which you hardly ever find in a traditional media outlet. This is a truly awesome example of how a niche market conversation, presented in a human sounding voice is making a difference in getting the word out to citizens as its own “media outlet.”
Until next week —