A Nobel Peace Prize for Twitter?

The internet sure is a funny place isn

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[ Social Media]

I have been covering Internet business and webmaster news for nearly 10 years now. If I have learned anything over the course of the past decade it is that you just never know what you can expect to see in Internet news every day.  Most recent case in point, Twitter’s consideration for a Nobel Peace prize.

That’s right. A Nobel Peace Prize. For Twitter. Mark Pfeifle at the Christian Science Monitor writes; “Without Twitter, the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy.” As impressive as that sounds, I am left feeling a little suspect about the validity of the claim. Call me jaded, but I just really have a hard time thinking that proponents of democracy in the Middle East looked at Twitter and thought to themselves “Now’s our chance!”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. I use it all the time, but let’s not get too carried away here folks. Does anybody really think Twitter is going to bring peace and democracy to the Middle East? Hey, I hope I’m wrong and it does, then it can move right on to ending hunger and curing cancer… 

Beyond the fact that I believe the reasoning behind Twitter’s Nobel Prize qualification is a tad specious. There is also the fact that Twitter isn’t a person…  it’s a platform.  Do we really want to start awarding Nobel Prizes to things? Where are we going to draw that line? If you want to credit Twitter with enabling the fight for democracy in Iran, then by the same line of reasoning, why wouldn’t we want to also nominate iPhones (or whatever device the Iranians used to do their Tweeting). 

TwitterThen again, maybe singling out the iPhone or any one device would be unfair too. I doubt all of the Iranian Twitterers were sporting the same hardware. So, maybe by that rationale, we would need to nominate ‘Cell Phones’ for the Nobel Peace prize. That doesn’t work though, does it?  Not all cell phones even have web access so we can’t really credit them for enabling the fight for democracy in Iran.

Well, how about just ‘The Internet’ then? Twitter is part of the Internet.  You can’t have a Twitter without the web can you?  But who do we give an award to? Tim Berners-Lee?  Vint Cerf?  Al Gore?

I just don’t think much of the idea.  If you wanted to talk about the Twitter founders maybe being deserving of a nomination I guess that would have been a little better. Although, I don’t think too many folks in Iran could come up with Jack Dorsey’s name if they had to.  I could be wrong about Jack, I have never met the man, but I doubt he has spent a lot of time in the Middle East. 

I guess at the end of the day, I have two main problems with nominating Twitter for a Nobel peace prize.  First, it isn’t a person. Twitter is a platform. To me that’s like nominating McDonald’s french fries for a pulitzer because so many writers enjoy them. Second ‘it’ didn’t ‘do’ anything.  Twitter didn’t do anything in Iran. Twitter never marched, Twitter made no signs, Twitter itself didn’t do a single thing in Iran. The Iranians did. To be perfectly honest, I rather think nominating ‘Twitter’ for a peace prize because of what somebody else did with it borders on an insult to the people that did the tweeting.


A Nobel Peace Prize for Twitter?
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  • http://www.suburban-glory.com Andy Walpole

    Yeah, good article.

    It’s not just an insult to the those that did the tweeting, but to those that actually died.

    I felt quite angry towards the media coverage at the time who were actually calling events in Iran the “Twitter revolution”

    Twitter is just a tool.

    Nobody would call the Reformation the “book revolution” just because of the affect that the printing press had on European society at the time.

  • http://www.memo-reminder.com/ jane reminder

    Oau good ideea. Will twitter won the Nobel only if all votes will be online(line “Man of the year in Times”). Who knows, maybe in the future. :)
    Here are few think in favor of twitter:
    -Moldavian revolution
    -Tibet street movements
    -Iran manifestation

  • Guest

    Nobody would call the Reformation the “book revolution” just because of the affect that the printing press had on European society at the time.

    sure, why not. point is, twitter ist nothing new or revolutionary – as opposed to books at that time.

  • http://www.goodtherapy.org counseling

    I am not a veteran in this industry but i am closely watching how the internet is transforming itself. The role of new age News sites( that is what i call Social media sites) has been increasing immensely in the recent past. The way twitter is gaining popularity, i am sure that it is soon going to create records . Twitter has undoubtedly played a significant role during Iran election and very recent China unrest.

    • Guest

      Agree that Twitter should be considered for Nobel Prize? Join the Facebook page:

  • Guest

    Very well written article. Humorous and true!

  • http://blog.hichamaged.net/ Hicham

    Very funny & well said, Mike :)
    This reminds me with something from the last century: Peter Sellers’, The Party when he used to say “Burdi Num-Num:P

  • http://www.2guystalking.com Mike Wilkerson

    Thank you for having at least a grain of common sense that you share with others who will hopefully also gravitate towards and consume.

    I can’t deny the source of information that Twitter is. I can’t deny the unending source of search material that Twitter is. I can, however, tell you that the people that created Twitter should NOT get a Nobe Peace Prize. In recent years, the prize has become nothing more than shiny bubble gum stuck to the bottom of a golden picnic table and it SICKENS me.

    Thank you for your nugget of truth, that will sadly, quickly and within 140 characters be covered over, never to be seen again

    Mike Wilkerson

  • Richard Tuffin

    Nah – the prize has got to go to all the people who were smart enought, and brave enough in Iran to use Twitter. Maybe Twitter still deserves an honourable mention though!

    Richard Tuffin
    Canberra Australia

  • Ryan Philly

    Wow, Twitter jealousy, dude?


    • Mike McDonald

      No bile and no fries here. I still think awarding a Nobel Prize to a software platform is asinine.

      Michael McDonald
      Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
      Managing Editor
      iEntry, Inc.

      • Ryan Philly

        Mike, It

        • Mike McDonald

          Never once said I wasn’t a Twitter fan or that I didn’t think Twitter was great… Deserving of a Nobel prize? No.

          Twitter is a tool and is only as effective as the people using it. ‘Twitter’ does nothing.

          I know next to nothing about Martti Ahtisaari, but I assume he is at least:
          a) a human being and that he
          b) DID something

          Michael McDonald
          Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
          Managing Editor
          iEntry, Inc.

    • http://www.meanrachel.com Mean Rachel

      I’ve been following her for a while now. And, in fact, they’re in talks to make a movie about her.


      • Ryan Philly

        Well deserving of a movie or anything else to promote the anti-landmine cause. Kudos!

  • http://facebook.com/conceptbakery Felix

    We just created a poll on facebook if Twitter should become a Peace Nobel Price or not. You can find it in the left column of our page on http://facebook.com/conceptbakery. We are looking forward to your opinion / every vote!

  • http://www.Lose100poundsnow.com Lose 100 Pounds

    Is there anything to celebrate???

  • http://www.neo-symmetry.com Buzzed

    I think it is great that those people now have the feedom to do things such as use Twitter, but first of all lets not forget who helped them get the freedom. Second, I don’t belienve it is a Noble Piece Prize Nominee. But if it helps those people and others great.

  • http://glennfriesen.com Glenn Friesen

    I’m pretty sure the nomination was to generate buzz, RT’s, and Digg’s because it really makes no sense to nominate a platform and not it’s creators. Along different lines, it would make no sense to nominate Twitter in this case – after all, hasn’t Google helped more people find and share information on the Iran elections than Twitter? Why isn’t Google nominated? Or the Internet itself? Tim-Berners Lee should be awarded far earlier than Twitter ever should (discussed in depth at http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/once-a-knight-is-not-enough/).

    Twitter is a platform, dependent on many other platforms… It’s just a form of communication that hit that perfect blend of critical mass and network effects sooner than other offerings. Although it’s awesome and really fun/effective, it’s definitely not worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

  • http://www.exec-coach.info vince stevenson

    I love Twitter, but honestly, let’s get serious. Although Twitter has been useful in recent civilian demonstrations throughout the world, issues will be resolved with or without Twitter. Rgds Vince

  • http://www.bdv-unix-skills.co.uk John Harcourt

    Sure why not? Twitter did a lot to keep people’s attention on recent issues in Iran. It would make a chage to have a software platform to win. John

    • Guest

      Just give it to the CIA for a false Color Revolution.. It is all BS and the Seep eat it up.

  • Mike

    Just how does Tweeter have anything to do with peace? On the contrary it may have instigated more violence by revolting or even encouraging different groups to commit further crimes.
    If the intent of the article was to create (good or bad buzz) a reaction, you have succeeded.

  • http://www.abundantace.com/ ace

    That is ridiculous. I really and truly hope that this is some sort of a joke.

    What the hell is wrong with people in this day and age?

    The Nobel Peace prize should be reserved for the extraordinary.

    • Guest

      ok Ace, who???

  • http://judicial-inc.org/h.ere_is_why_the_zionists_want_ir.htm BenjaminFreeman

    Here Is Why The Zionists Want To Attack Iran

    75% Of The World’s Oil Sits In The Middle East

    Big Map Of Zagros Oil Belt

    Iran is about giant untapped oil fields. Iran is about giant untapped oil fields. Zionists want to control the world’s oil supply. Israel will arrange a massive False Flag terror attack, such as a nuke in a city like Des Moines, or a missile attack on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. We will hit Iran with nukes, the world economy will collapse, and in a few years, the Zionists will “come to our rescue”.

    Their answer will be a one-world currency. It will not be a paper fiat one, but will instead be a rock-solid commodity-based version. And that currency will be based on gold and oil. As an added treat, we might very well have a one world government, with a Zionist mind-master at the helm.

  • http://side-site.com Bryan Quinn

    A ‘Platform Peace Prize’ has a nice ring to it. Stand up and be counted tweepers. LOL

  • http://www.piercedandmodified.co.uk Belly Bara


    I hope this is a joke.

    Twitter is a social networking site.

    Let’s stick to reality and give the prizes to people who actually did something…

  • Guest

    Twitter and Peace Prize: It seems to me that all Twitter did was collect comments from individuals and post them to a univeral bulletin board. A function that twitter does for a profit – not to encourage social change.

    Yes, that unity may have given individuals the courage to tweet, but simply tweeting is as effective as talking into the wind. It almost supports inaction because it is easy to tweet and very often those tweeting will do so, thinking they have done enough (something is better than nothing), rather than get up and hold a sign or shout out loud. It is those actions and others like them that really effect change.

    If we want to debate that the international community responded to the abundance of tweets, or the sensationalism of those tweets, and that is what brought change, that might be something to argue, but it can’t be said that twitter did anything unusual or extraordinary to help with that process. Twitter was only doing what it was designed to do.

    I read elsewhere that Iranian videos about the protests were posted on YouTube. Should we nominate YouTube also? What about cameras? Cameras were used extensively during the Vietnam War and Americans saw the horrors of war like never before. What about video cameras? Now that we can take pictures and videos with our cell phones, should those tools be nominated when imagery is used to bring international awareness to issues like genocide?

    Earlier comments compared twitter to other ‘platforms’ like Climate Change and Atomic Energy, but those ‘platforms’ were not tools like a camera or a computer that have multiple purposes – they were collaborative, complex organizations driven by people hoping to affect world change.

    The creators of twitter came up with this tool to turn a profit and are fortunate to have become successful in that endeavor. To suggest that the effect of a tool like twitter is comparable to the work of individuals like Mother Theresa and Martin Luthor King, Jr. diminishes the value and intention of the of the prize and to enter twitter into the running would be an insult to those who have perservered and been recognized for moral and ethical change.

  • Guest

    Gore, Obama, and now Twitter… Does a Nobel Prize these mean anything anymore?

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