Amazing points in this TED talk by Clay Shirkey that are very applicable to what's going on in Iran right now.
To paraphrase (with my analysis in parentheses):
The Great Firewall of China failed (and Iran's attempts at media control will fail too) because it was designed to censor an old media model:
But the new social media world (including Twitter, and Facebook, and MySpace, and Bebo, and... too many social networks to count actually, with more emerging every day) the things to be censored are:
Clay talks about the earth quake in China, but he could just as easily be talking about the protests in Iran. He says that the only way a country like China can control the media message now is by attempting to block the services--Twitter, etc.--but this is doomed to fail, because new services crop up on a daily basis. So unless China (and Iran) are willing to turn off the internet spigot all together (like North Korea) the regimes will soon find it impossible to control the messages their citizens send and receive.
Interesting times, no?