Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

Twitter Use During the 2009 Iranian Elections

Between June 7 and June 25, 2009, the Web Ecology Project recorded 2,204,166 tweets about the presidential election in Iran. These were its main findings:

  • At least 479,780 users contributed to the conversation about the election;
  • Twitter was also used to spread information about the protests. Using hashtags such as #iranelection, #iran, and #neda, Twitter users supplied a steady stream of information about events occurring in Iran;
  • The loudest users were not always the most influential on Twitter; and,
  • Most tweets originated from outside Iran.

Click here for more analysis of Twitter usage during the 2009 Elections.

The following are a list of tools that you can use to search different issues in Twitter:

  • General search: Twitter Search and TweetScan allows you to search for Twitter data, tags and old conversations.
  • Twitter Venn: This tool allows you to illustrate the relationship between various topics using Venn diagrams
  • Tag search: #hashtags gives you a graphical representation of trends for a specific tag.
  • Keyword search: Monitter.com allows you to monitor up to three keywords simultaneously and see trends about specific topics.
  • Popular URL search: Twitt(url)y organizes URLs by the frequency they’re mentioned in tweets. The more people talk about a URL, the higher it ranks in Twitt(url)y.

Be Careful

There are downsides to using Twitter:

  • People may try to manipulate you into arriving at their conclusions by feeding you misinformation;
  • Tweets can be modified as they are retweeted affecting the information’s reliability;
  • Twitter automatically sets your location. If you want to hide your location you need to change your settings; and,
  • Twitter can remove tweets and block tweets on a country-by-country basis.

But do not panic, there are tweets that you can trust! Check out Nabz-Iran’s twitter feed.