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The Iran Election and Social Media The New News Revolution
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The Iran Election and Social Media The New News Revolution

Analysis by Emily Luger, Nielsen Online

The Iranian election is yet another watershed moment in the ongoing evolution of news and media, further blurring the lines between being, reporting, and following the story. In the two weeks since the controversy and conflict surrounding the election, a number of insights have emerged about how the Internet and social media continue to be a transforming force for the News industry. Initial Nielsen analysis of search results provides some conclusions, while others areas beg additional probing.

Findings from an  Internet snapshot from June 18, 2009:

  • Wikipedia emerges within the top two search results for 4/5 of the leading topics.
  • At least one social media source emerges within the top 10 search results for every term. In most cases, the social media sites emerge directly above a traditional, major news source, such as WSJ.com.

Google Search Results: Est. 2:30 PM Thursday, June 18, 2009
Rank Iran Iran Protest Iran

Election

Moussavi Ahmadinejad
1 Wikipedia MSNBC Wikipedia Wikipedia WSJ
2 BBC MSNBC Yahoo Earthtimes.org Wikipedia
3 Boston.com Yahoo Boston.com CNN Ahmadinejad.ir
4 YahooNews AlJezeera MSNBC Presstv.ir YouTube
5 InfoPlease GlobalVoices CBS Ft.com Yahoo
6 IranDaily WashingtonTimes Presstv.ir Economist.com/blogs Boing Boing
7 Tehran.edu AFP Google Article NY Times Middleeast.about.com Politico.com
8 Memory.loc.gov NY Times BBC Gsd.harvard CNN
9 Books.Google.com Riehlworldview.com HuffingtonPost Personaldemocracy Time.com
10 Guardian Rightwingnews.com YouTube Washingtonindependent Google Video
11 Sdnn.com WSJ Propeller.com Aljezeera
12 BBC SFGate NY Times Iranian.ws
13 Commentary CNN Washington Post
14 iran.whyweprotest.net Guardian.co.uk Reuters
15 Washington Post Mashable Globalsecurity.org
16 Theage.com.au Foxnews MSNBC
17 Euronews.net Stopahmadinejad

In a follow-up snapshot on June 24, a marked shift takes place, reaffirming the Iran election story as a watershed moment for online news and communications:

  • YouTube emerges within the top 10 search results for all search terms in the second week.
  • Wikipedia remains within the top three search results in the second week for four of the five search terms.
  • Twitter emerges within the top 20 search results in week two – specifically, the Twitter results for Moussavi and Ahmadinejad. Of course, traditional news sources such as the BBC (and CNN, in week two) bubble to the top of search results, as do general information sites such as Yahoo.com and Infoplease.com.

Google Search Results: Est. 3:30 PM Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Rank Iran Iran Protest Iran Election Moussavi Ahmadinejad
1 Wikipedia Minneapolis Star CNN Wikipedia Wikipedia
2 CIA.gov Telegraph.co.uk Boston.com Earthtimes.org Ahmadinejadjr.
3 Topics.nyimes Iran.whyweprotest.net Mashable Presstv.ir Guardian
4 YouTube Guardian Wikipedia CNN YouTube
5 Boston.com English.aljazeera Theledeblogs.

nytimes.com

BoingBoing MiamiHerald.com
6 Guardian BBC Yahoo FT.com Csmonitor
7 BBC NPR Guardian Cjr.org Yahoo
8 Iran-Daily Albawaba.com Presstv.ir YouTube TIME
9 Yahoo MSNBC.com Huffington Post Attackerman.

firedoglake

CNN
10 Infoplease YouTube Washington Post Blogs.tnr.com Globalsecurity.org
11 Yahoo News YouTube washingtonindependent English.aljazeera
12 FoxNews Energyoutlook.

blogspot

Blog.archpaper.com Twitter.com/

ahmadinejad

13 Reuters Lewrockwell.com Blog.beliefnet.com Politico.com
14 Globalvoicesonline BBC Twitter.com/

mousavi1388

NY Times
15 Cryptome.org WSJ Monstersandcritics.com Washington Post
16 CNN FOX News MSNBC
17 CBS News Stopahmadinejad

What this means is that general human curiosity is driving people to look to all available sources for information.  The conflict in Iran presenting the latest and perhaps most sophisticated example of how the world has changed for journalists, the media and increasingly active media consumers alike.

So what else do the search results signify? Is consumer generated media (news by the people, for the people) eclipsing traditional sources? Are people more frequently linking to Wikipedia than the New York Times for information about Iran? What does it mean that Mashable is among the top three search results for “Iran Election?” What role does Twitter play? As major events break (Iran, Health Care, Michael Jackson) we will continue to dive into the data and present answers to these questions, both through our own analysis and through feedback and opinions of others. After all, if weve learned anything in the last few weeks, it’s that the power is in the hands of the people… What do you think?