Twitter has come to the forefront of mainstream media over the last two weeks following the political uprising in Iran. As an election became suspect of fraud, many Iranians took to Twitter so they could organize meetings and tell the world what was happening.
The streets of Tehran have been exploding with violence while the green-faced Twitterati played citizen-journalists. As a result, talking heads on CNN and other legitimate news outlets focused much attention on social networks. I’ve never been one to support the general concept of citizen-journalism, but in this extreme situation it isn’t difficult to see value in such a practice.
But, upon waking up this morning and scrolling through my TweetDeck feeds, I stumbled upon a curious Tweet from the Queen of All Media, Perez Hilton. @PerezHilton sent an SOS via Twitter early Monday morning. Then he started an onslaught of messages, all under 140 characters, outlining what he called an “assault” from Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas. Here are his first few Tweets.
“I’m in shock. I need the police ASAP. Please come to the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel now. Please.”
“I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No Joke.”
“Still waiting for the police. The bleeding has stopped. I need to document this. Please, can the police come to the SoHo Met Hotel.”
“I won’t be talking about this any further. It is in the hands of the authorities.”
Wiping the sleep out of my eyes, I tried figuring out how legit this public cry for help really was. Then came Tweets from reality TV’s trashiest star, Tila Tequila. Apparently she is friends with Will.I.Am, and quickly came to her bud’s defense. @officialTila Twittered:
“Unless Perez is drunk N someone knocked him out N he thinks it was a Will.I.Am look-a-like. But Will ahs no idea what Perez is talkin about.”
“If Perez DID get hit by a security guard or a ‘black guy’ that does NOT mean WILL.I.AM did it! SO WRONG! Well at least We know the TRUTH NOW.”
Well, if Tila Tequila says it’s a lie… Turning to a slightly more “credible” source, Will.I.Am created his own Twitter account and sent out a link to his video blog in which he details the night’s happenings. @iamtherealwill wrote:
“perez hilton is a liar… http://dipdive.com/member/iamwill/tv/#/~/videoplayer/0/undefined/48856/~/“
These events are certain to explode as the rest of the online world wakes up, and no matter how this turns out, there is certain to be a backlash. My only hope is that Twitter doesn’t get dumped on by the same traditional media that has been praising the social network service for the last two weeks.
UPDATE: Since my original posting, Perez Hilton has recorded his own video blog detailing what happened. Check it out: http://perezhilton.com/2009-06-22-my-statement