Net effect: social media as a catalyst for political reform into the age of cyberspace warfare : exploring the revolutionary narrative of social media
The purpose of this study is to examine if there exists a discrepancy between popular Westernized notions about the role of social media and the notions of those affected by the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 and assess how this might change the dominant discourse of cyber-utopia. The internet has most certainly transformed our lives in unforeseeable ways having various and unknown shifting effects but the purpose of this research is to view the dominant discourse of liberation in comparison with the perceived meaning and function of the internet and social media within anti-democratic regimes. The awareness of global misconceptions are imperative to move away from the popular norm and scope of research that uses framing tactics of liberation and democratization because the development, adoption and political consequences of any technological tool within any society will always tell a story. The net effect of social media was silenced soon after the Green Revolution and many Iranians are still experiencing the consequences of their actions. The dark side of internet freedom in authoritative governments will assuredly play a role in forming a more comprehensive understanding of the revolutionary narrative that is social media as well as contributing to the overall relationship of how the internet influences the political realm. Iran represents a unique situation to analyze due to its politically closed landscape and historical global misperception about Iranian society and its citizenry. Through the utilization of personal narratives of individual Iranians directly or indirectly involved within the movement and an overview of global trends of suppression of online speech, this research attempts to show that no i universal framework exists when it comes to the discourse about social media because the characteristics of a society will ultimately drive the forces that influence technological manifestation.