Iran, Recounting

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 16 2009 9:37 AM

Iran, Recounting

So Iran's Guardian Council has agreed to do a partial recount of the vote s , according to the New York Tim es and other sites, in response to street riots and protests larger than any in the country since 1979. If you haven't yet seen pictures of what's taking place, you have to check out this gallery from The Big Picture. (The image of the protestor helping the injured riot officer is amazing.) As everyone else has already noted, too, it's fascinating that social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs have helped fuel protests and fervor. It's become a cliche that Twitter is an ideal news tool in moments like this (you can clamp down on reporters, maybe, but you can't silence every single Tweet); but we hear less about how Facebook personalizes the narrative, bringing faces and stories to what's taking place, allowing for actual debate, in some cases, and maybe in others just stoking more anger, for better or for worse. I'm sure many PhD students are hard at work on studying how on-line identity-which is so different from in-person identity, according the theoreticians like Sherry Turkle and others-shapes these moments of national fervor or political resistance; I'm already hungry to know more.

Meghan O'Rourke is Slate's culture critic and an advisory editor. She was previously an editor at The New Yorker. The Long Goodbye, a memoir about her mother's death, is now out in paperback.