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Iran: Downside to the "Twitter Revolution"

From: Dissent
Volume 56, Number 4, Fall 2009
pp. 10-14 | 10.1353/dss.0.0092



Among the unpleasant surprises that awaited Barack Obama's administration during the post-election turmoil in Iran, the unexpected role of the Internet must have been most rankling. A few government wonks might have expected Iranians to rebel, but who could predict they would do so using Silicon Valley's favorite toys? Team Obama, never shy to tout its mastery of all things digital, was caught off guard and, at least for a moment or two, appeared ill-informed about the heady developments in Iranian cyberspace. Speaking a few days after the protests began, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confessed that she wouldn't know "a Twitter from a tweeter, but apparently, it's very important"—referring to Twitter, a popular mix between a blogging service and a social network that enables its users to exchange brief messages of up to 140 characters in length.