Going Green (Mountain Time +3:30)
In recent days there have been numerous calls for Twitter users to change their time zone and location to match Tehran. The idea is that doing so confuses government censors that’re attempting to clamp down on any and all communication to the outside world in light of protests over the disputed Presidential election.
I hesitated to participate in this practice for some time due to my own skepticism as to whether or not this was the case. How do we know that this will actually helppeople get the word out? Do we know how the Iranian government goes about censoring Tweets coming from dissidents in their country? Is this anything other than an empty gesture?
Ultimately, all those questions were overriden by another, more powerful question – what does it matter?
At worst, I’m participating in a gesture that may not be empty but may ultimately be more symbolic than practical. However, that isn’t a bad thing. No moral victory can be claimed from not participating in an act that had at least a slight chance of helping somebody overseas change the world, even if it is in the most miniscule way possible.
That being said, I write this post as a pre-emptive "shut up, you pretentious jerk" to the inevitable authors of the snarky blog posts or snide message board comment that points out that all these people are changing their city and time zone on Twitter despite the fact that it doesn’t actually do anything.
Though I’d never be one to deign to speak for other people, I can tell you that I personally am not participating as a way to feel superior, or give the appearance of being more well-informed, or to simply buck to the latest Web 2.0 trend. Nor do I pass any judgment on those who haven’t and/or won’t turn their picture green, change the time zone in their profile, or modify their location. I’m doing this because I’m one of those people that believe in things like free speech and realize that not only are there governments that openly engage in active conflict with their own people and their inherent rights and basic freedoms, but that real change can come from and be affected by those very same people.
Call me foolish or a poser, but that’s something I’m willing to look silly for.