Remember a few weeks ago when we wrote about former Deputy National Security Advisor Mark Pfeifle saying that the founders of Twitter should get the Nobel Peace Prize? Most everyone thought it was just a half-serious comment made on the fly. But it turns out, Pfeifle wasn’t joking. At all.
In an op-ed today in the Christian Science Monitor, Pfeifle lays out exactly why he thinks Twitter should get the prize. His argument is that without Twitter, the world would have had basically no insight into what was going on inside of Iran during the protests that broke out following the country’s controversial election. Specifically, he says that the story of Neda Agha-Soltan, the woman in Iran whose death was captured on video, wouldn’t have gotten out without the aid of Twitter. “Neda became the voice of a movement; Twitter became the megaphone,” is how Pfeifle puts it.
He continues, “When traditional journalists were forced to leave the country, Twitter became a window for the world to view hope, heroism, and horror. It became the assignment desk, the reporter, and the producer. And, because of this, Twitter and its creators are worthy of being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
While the idea of Twitter getting the same prize that Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr. have all received may sound utterly absurd, when you think about it, it’s really not that bad of a point. It’s just kind of ridiculous to think of a web startup with that silly of a name getting the prize. But there is no denying the impact Twitter had in spreading information about that situation. Of course, if that spreading of information ends up mattering at all in the long run, is another story.
When he originally said it (video embedded below), Pfieifle indicated that Twitter should be considered for the prize because they postponed a planned maintenance to allow the communication surround the Iran situation to continue. Awarding a Nobel Peace Prize for the rescheduling of site maintenance remains absurd. But Pfeifle has a much better argument now.
A Facebook page has also been created to try to get Twitter the prize. Perhaps next year someone can nominate Facebook for hosting the page that helped get Twitter the prize.