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Tweeting Tehran

You've likely heard the buzz about the role social media has played in galvanizing opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election victory in Iran last week. In the face of government-imposed restrictions on journalists, sites like Twitter have been ablaze with tidbits of news, links to video, and words (though not more than 140 characters worth) about demonstrations. Members of Twitter have also taken to tinting their profile pictures green in support of challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Here's a real-time feed from Twitter of all updates tagged with the phrase "IranElection." They come plentifully, and they come quickly. Keep in mind that we cannot verify their sources or their validity, which is one of the primary obstacles to using the digital updates in reporting. But the sheer volume of activity on the site related to Iran's political situation is remarkable, and you can follow it below.

The digital masses are certainly giving the government a run for its money. In the last week it has blocked Web sites it deems incendiary — including Twitter — as well as interrupted cell phone and text messaging service.

The U.S. government has also acknowledged the significance of social networking in this political melee — the State Department recently asked Twitter to delay a scheduled updgrade that would've interrupted service to Iran during prime hours of use.

Twitterers have been eagerly passing around this editorial cartoon which, like most good editorial cartoons, uses a bit of scatology to capture a slice of the zeitgeist.

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