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Second guessing Twitter's effect on post-election Iran

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AP

(Read caption) In this June 20 file photo, which was originally posted on the Internet, an Iranian woman carries rocks at an anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran. What role has Twitter played in post-election Iran?

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In today's Boston Phoenix, media critic Adam Reilly offers a typically sober analysis of Twitter's role in post-election Iran. His take: the social network allowed outsiders a view into the turmoil on the streets of Tehran. Even more important, it allowed Americans to discuss, vet, filter, and label news that might otherwise have gone unread.

But Reilly – like an assortment of like-minded media critics – is skeptical that anything conclusive can be said about Twitter's direct effect on the protests. First, Reilly argues that Twitter has played such a "vital newsgathering role" mostly because many veteran journalists were either constrained by the Iranian government or forced to leave Iran. In a situation less punishing – say the ongoing Mark Sanford debacle – Twitter probably wouldn't have as much clout. The reason: trained reporters would still be able to function in a traditional manner.

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