It's truly amazing what is going on in Iran. In the span of a little less than a week, our public perception of the Iranians has done one huge 180. No longer do we think that they all hunkered down in some mosque planning the next attack on America or hacking into our computers trying to steal nuclear secrets of burning American flags and effigies of our leaders.
All of a sudden, they look very different to us. We can relate to them better today that we could last week. They are simply standing up for themselves, trying to point out to the world that, "Hey, we're not all bad people - there's just a few at the top that are making things, well, difficult for us."
And during this crisis, a seemingly unlikely ally has rushed to their side - the global digital community. Since their government has imposed a virtual media and Internet blackout, the only way to get news out is via the Internet, specifically social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
What was truly amazing to me is how Twitter changed the timing on a major upgrade to occur at 1:30AM Iranian time - smack in the middle of our business day - so that they would get a minimal disruption of service. That statement alone sums up the efforts of thousands of others who have stepped up by providing anonymous proxy servers, virtual machine images and the like to the Iranian bloggers, so that they can get their message out past the government censors.
No one can predict what will happen next, but I think that we are all seeing how powerful a community organized with new social networking technologies can truly become.