Four decades ago, when police and national guardsmen attacked protestors at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the protesters shouted, "The whole world is watching."
However arresting those images were, they could not possibly compare to the flood in recent weeks of YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Twitter tweets, Facebook pages, and blogs dedicated to events in Iran. Today, the world is not only watching -- in an important way it is participating, as observers dig down for their own raw footage, reporting, and analysis pouring out of Iran.
It is easy to be swept up by all of these images coming out of Iran and think that the days of dictatorship -- in Iran and the rest of the world -- are numbered. Overnight, normally innocuous social networking tools swiftly turned political, and local events found international audiences mere instants after they occur.