Two recent articles about the effect of Internet networks in the case of the last year events in Iran. For time reasons, I will not enter too much into details, but my opinion is that this kind of mobilization played a limited if not a very limited one.
First of all, it was used both sides: for protesters to get organized and widespread information to the wide world, as for the opressors, who obtained up-to-date details about their plans. When they were in full control, they blocked the access. This type of social networking cannot supply the lack of a real world network. What happened in Iran is a good example. The oppressive regime intervened in force, stopped the disidence and kept the power.
Media is the message and information is power. But the depositaries of power are always real and with full control of institutions, people and resources.
The real revolution is in the people's minds. What will happen next in Iran and when it is a matter of human resources. What should be done, in my opinion is that the West (to be read the democratic countries) are smart enough to identify in due time the right persons able to produce change and to encourage them - by prompt reactions against perpetual human rights violations by the authorities in Tehran.
Foreign Policy - Misreading Tehran
Here there are some observations I made by myself: most part of the coordinators of the current campaigns regarding Iran are based outside the country, by people with low interest to ever return in the country. I could understand very well the reasons, but it is better to know instead of dreaming. Mostly in foreign policy.
The Atlantic Monthly - Evaluating Iran's Twitter Revolution
It is a more optimistic perspective, which I support in some respects, about the huge potential of change presented by social networks.