Monthly Archive for October, 2009

Using Twitter for politics, not posturing in @goforthmag

I’ve just had an article published at a new Irish political website, forth. The publisher, Jason Walsh, is a contributor to Spiked and has branched out on his own. The politics are broadly similar to Spiked, including the anti-nanny-statism and the belief that we live in an age where politicians offer not politics, but bland managerialism.

My article is about how Twitter and other social media could have been used more effectively by Westerners supporting the Iranian protesters in July this year. I emailed a comment replying to another article, “Politics for Twats“, which had very little good to say about Western use of Twitter, saying it was mostly just posturing.

I agreed that that is what had happened, but it didn’t have to be that way. Despite missing out on a big opportunity to show solidarity with the Iranian protesters in the streets, that failure wasn’t caused because people were on Twitter, but because people weren’t using it correctly:

Despite [the Western supporters’] failings there was one very heartening sign among people using Twitter: an enormous amount of Westerners instinctively supported the protesters. Of course, good feelings and undirected sympathy aren’t enough, but without that support agitators have nothing to work with. Twitterers who supported the Iranians protesting against their regime may not have done enough to support them but that is not the fault of social media. Instead, it’s the fault of poor understanding and preparation and lack of willingness to take action.

I suggest you have a look around forth, its focus on Irish politics is interesting as that rarely gets reported in Australia, despite our huge Irish-descended population. They accept comments by email at the moment, and they hope to have a proper commenting system in place soon, which is good – I think one of Spiked’s biggest disappointments is not having comments.