Changing the world for the better doesn’t happen at the point of a gun, but it is happening via computer terminals. The US Department of State asking Twitter to delay an outage so as not to interrupt a revolution is a mind-blowing development. One can easily mock Twitter. Do I really need to know that a friend of mine just had a cup of coffee or woke up feeling tired? But what’s being proven now is how much can be accomplished in 140-word sets.
[State Department official Jared] Cohen, a Stanford University graduate who is the youngest member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, has been working with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other services to harness their reach for diplomatic initiatives in Iraq and elsewhere.
Last month, he organized a visit to Baghdad by [Twitter co-founder Jack] Dorsey and other executives from Silicon Valley and New York’s equivalent, Silicon Alley. They met with Iraq’s deputy prime minister to discuss how to rebuild the country’s information network and to sell the virtues of Twitter.
Referring to Mir Hussein Moussavi, the main Iranian opposition candidate, assistant secretary of state for public affairs PJ] Crowley said, “We watched closely how Moussavi has used Facebook to keep his supporters informed of his activities.”
Tweets from users like IranNewsNow and the pro-Mousavi StopAhamdi will, in the long run, be shown to have had a more positive impact than any military invasion could, even if the government doesn’t immediately change.