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Is 140 Characters Worthy Of The Nobel Peace Prize?

Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama were all previous prize winners. Barack Obama may be in the running this year. So is it possible that his competition could possibly be a social network, the likes of Twitter?  Does a platform, an inanimate entity warrant the same consideration as a person?

Mark PfeifleMark PfeifleOn June 22, 2009, it began when former Deputy National Security Advisor Mark Pfeifle suggested it in an interview with Fox News, discussing the Iran Election.




Subsequently WebProNews talked with several people regarding the issue and their thoughts on this idea.



The Christian Science Monitor wrote, "without Twitter, the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy. They did so because they knew the world was watching. With Twitter, they now shout hope with a passion and dedication that resonates not just with those on their street, but with millions across the globe."

While other social networks did get involved, it was a dominoe effect that started with Twitter at the epicenter creating an echo chamber that amplified the message. At the height of the protest activities, according to Mashable.com's Ben Parr, more than 221,000 Iran tweets were sent in one hour. In one day, 3,000 Iranian videos were uploaded on YouTube, and 2.2 million blog entries were posted. Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi amassed more than 100,000 supporters on Facebook.

Biz Stone & Evan WilliamsBiz Stone & Evan WilliamsControversy is rampant dependent on who you talk to. Some say if Twitter is to be considered, it should be its founders. Others say, that if you were to ask the common citizen on Tehran who Biz Stone or Evan Williams were, you would receive a blank stare.

Co-founder Biz Stone has said Twitter is "less about the triumph of technology, and more about the triumph of humanity." I think he is right. In my humble opinion, while I am a devout member of the Twitterverse, I am hard pressed to see Twitter worthy of this prestigious acknowledgment. Twitter did not march on the streets, it did not risk the life of any its staff, and its founders never physically ventured into the Middle East. If anyone is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize it is the Iranian protesters. Their desire to be free of oppression is a telling story and a historic moment in history that needs to be given this important spotlight.

Please let me know your opinion on this topic. Take our poll today and post your comments as well if you have strong opinions on this subject.

 

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Ron Callari
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Comments
Jul 19, 2009
by Anonymous

Nobel Prize Nominees

I don't agree with the idea of Twitter being nominated. As your article notes, YouTube and Facebook among other sites have also played a vital role in supporting the communication needs of Iranian people during this period of unrest. It is not right to single out Twitter.

But the main reason I disagree with this idea is that it is the users of Twitter who have made the difference, and Twitter is just one platform they have employed. Most of the millions of supporters asround the world of a free, secular, democratic Iran are more or less anonymous, so of course couldn't be nominated either individually or as a group.

One individual however, does stand out for his devotion to this cause, and that is Austin Heap of San Francisco. His Haystack project will bring unfiltered internet to millions of Iranians.

Jul 20, 2009
by Anonymous

critical analysis on column

Let’s do some critical analysis on your column:
1- You say: “…that if you were to ask the common citizen on Tehran who Biz Stone or Evan Williams were, you would receive a blank stare.”
Hmmm…could most victims of landmines name the 1997 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize? It was…wait for it…Jody Williams. Betting more people have heard of Jack then Jody.

2- You say: “Does a platform, an inanimate entity warrant the same consideration as a person?”
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a platform – and Al Gore accepted the prize. In 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency was the platform – and Mohamed ElBaradei accepted. In 2001, the United Nations was the platform – and Kofi Annan accepted. And as stated earlier, in 1997, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines was the platform – and Jody Williams accepted. So, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey could accept the award on behalf of their platform.

3- You say: “Twitter did not march on the streets, it did not risk the life of any its staff…”
Last year’s winner, Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, was instrumental in peace negotiations in Kosovo and other places. He is a solid and influential international bureaucrat, but he never took to the streets in Bosnia with a sign nor marched against Milosevic’s genocidal massacre. Does that disqualify him? Nope.

4- You say: “If anyone is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize it is the Iranian protesters. Their desire to be free of oppression is a telling story and a historic moment in history that needs to be given this important spotlight.”
I don’t disagree with the Iranian people deserving the spotlight. But if you question giving the award for a “platform” why no thought for precedence of giving it to a large group of people? In the history of the award it’s never been given to a large group of people – why don’t you explain this odd reasoning?

Jul 20, 2009
by Anonymous

are people in general this stupid?

m-o-o-n spells propaganda.

Jul 31, 2009
by Anonymous

twitter? really ppl?

this is one of the dumbest things ive heard. michael jackson should get it! think of the charities he has gave money to. the way he has helped with racisim. think about it ppl