Or, to quote from the article
What happens in Tehran, stays in Tehran.
Much of the news discourse surrounding the “Digital Media Revolution” during that summer fling relied on tired post-Cold War binaries, especially “authoritarian regimes vs. freedom-loving protestors.” But there are indeed some differences between the Iranian style of dissent management and our homegrown techniques:
To disband crowds, they still use clunky acoustic weapons like gunshots. We have the latest in dispersal technology: a “sound cannon” designed to scatter people via painful sonic blasts.
They still rely on a live voice delivering orders via the police megaphone. We have the Long Range Acoustic Device, whose prerecorded vocal commands sound like they were made by “Fred, the friendly fascist” (Seriously, someone’s been watching too many Philip K. Dick-inspired films).
Finally, if they rely on State-run television for informational control, we have something more insidious: State-friended social media. It is widely known that during the Iranian demonstrations a State Department rep contacted the co-founders of Twitter to reschedule a maintenance shut-down. Who needs to control communications via government ownership? Just be bros with the new media outlets! State Department, your Facebook friend request has been accepted by Twitter. (I hope they don’t get jealous that CNN’s status says that it’s “in a relationship” with Twitter).
Tweet from Tehran and you are a hero. Tweet from Pittsburgh, and you are facing serious jail time.