Iran, Swarming and Social Media
Washington, DC, Jun 30th, 2009 -- Governments around the world are worried, very worried about the demonstrations in Iran. Not because they support the candidates but because they could suffer the same grass roots swarming, pulled together by readily available and virtually unstoppable social media networks. The behavior of the population is exactly what we have been looking at for several years, the ability to swarm enabled by Internet and computer technology.
The concept the Iranian leaders can't get through their blinkered minds is that the phenomenon we saw was far too big to be engineered by the CIA or MI6. They may have stood on the sidelines cheering, but the sheer volume of the swarm was far beyond their limited resources. It's a hard pill to swallow but the people swarmed like Starlings, or Fish avoiding the military, and finding media outlets to get their message out to the world, despite the government blocking all known communication channels.
Suddenly the "Power of the People" have demonstrated that thanks to new widespread and unstoppable technologies the book on political demonstrations has to be re written.
Had the religious fanatics in power realized that they could have predicted this they might have asked simple "Swarm Intelligence" programs instead of hiding behind their interpretation of the Almighty. They, and politicians around the world could have watched as the voices of the people moved the focus of their anger within the media space, before they took to the physical space to vent their anger and frustration. The days of top down politics are disintegrating world wide, and those who want to stay in power by democratic means, or escape violent overthrow should take note. Monitor what the people are muttering about, and respond, long before it turns violent.
Eventually the protests will die down, the crackdowns will begin, and the seeds set for the permanent end of that Regime. The same rules now apply around the world, and the power is in the hands of billions, in the form of a multimedia broadcasting station, their cellphones. The mainstream media were thrown out, but the "Citizen Journalists" and Bloggers provided even more compelling video and audio than the news crews. It's time to take stock of the new paradigm of "Swarm Intelligence" and it's relationship with the new decentralized media machine.
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