Mark D. Roberts

You may have noticed that I am now including my tweets (Twitter posts) on this website. In the amazing world of computer automation, all I need to do is to create a tweet in my Twitter account, and it magically appears on my website.
I have been flirting with Twitter, but am still unconvinced of its value. I expect that Twitter will give birth to something else that is much more useful than what we have at the moment. To be frank, I don’t need to know what thousands of people had for breakfast. I don’t even need to know what my best friends had for breakfast, to be completely honest. I have been more positive about Twitter than Maureen Dowd, who wrote: “I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account.” But it seems that Twittering is mostly for people who have way too much time on their hands.
Until now. I’ve been watching with interest several news stories having to do with the role of Twitter in the political unrest in Iran. Many are claiming that Twitter is providing a unique platform for protesters in Iran to organize and communicate with themselves as well as the wider world. In what seems to be a legitimate news story (and not a clever satirical post from the Onion), the U.S. State Department has asked Twitter to delay some scheduled maintenance that would force the system to go down for a while.
For a sober discussion of how Twitter is impacting the situation in Iran, check out this story from the Washington Post.  For a fascinating, but somewhat less balanced view, see this video from ITN:
What do you think? Is Twitter making a difference that matters?

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