What A Turkish Coup Taught Me About The Media & The Power Of Internet Performance

July 19, 2016 Adam Coughlin

As a former journalist, I find my role as Director of Corporate Comms at Dyn fascinating. Based on the fact that Dyn has a unique perspective of the internet and employs world-class data scientists, we frequently find ourselves at the center of news cycles - though it would be more accurate to call them storms because of the flurry of activity that happens in a short period of time.

There was no greater example of this than in December of 2014 when our own Doug Madory was the first person to discover that North Korea was offline. This was at the time of North Korea’s alleged hack of Sony, which was major international news. When Doug sent out his first tweet the media floodgates opened. I remember fielding calls from Japanese television stations.

This happened on a smaller scale when Iraq shut down the internet and when a Facebook clone went online in North Korea. However, the most recent event came just last week when the Turkish military staged an unsuccessful coup in Istanbul.

esrk / Shutterstock.com
esrk / Shutterstock.com

While it is exciting to play a role in these breaking news situations and the exposure for Dyn is always good, the best part to be retroactively examining the coverage. I always find it interesting how one story can be attacked in so many different ways. Here are three different takes from three A+ publications:

This article in the NY Times focused on how governments have the ability to throttle social networks as a way to control communication within their country. I also enjoyed how the Times curated all of its content into a live feed so we could see how the situation on the ground evolved over time.

TechCrunch took a more educational approach in their article, literally giving readers circumvention tips to continue accessing their accounts. Additionally, they heavily featured images from social accounts of Turkish citizens, and also were afraid to promote other publications like the AP or the Telegraph.

This coup was a great example of how quickly the narrative changes. The above articles, which were published on July 15, discussed how the government was attempting to limit social media access.

Yet this Wall Street Journal article came out only 48 hours later on Sunday, July 17, and the story was totally different. This article focused on the shift that occurred with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who went from throttling Facebook, Twitter, etc. to embracing it and using these sites to help squash the coup.*

News travels fast and opinions change. What I love about Dyn is that data never has an opinion. It just tells it like it is. Which is what we try to do as well.

*Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We were mentioned in Sam Schechner's WSJ coverage of Turkey blocking DNS in 2014.

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