Twitter as Diplomatic Tool
The Obama administration has been trying to keep a low profile in its dealings with Iran during it election, primarily a hands-off approach. It caught my attention that the current administration requested that Twitter delay its scheduled maintenance, to which Twitter complied. Why would this matter?
The Iranian government, much like China, screens the internet content that it makes available to its people. Twitter acts as an instantaneous and neutral communication tool for the Iranian protesters (both pro & anti-government), in which the Iranian government can not screen and block the information quick enough that comes from Twitter. Other technology allows for eye witness video from amateur reports & photographers on the events that happen.
As a recent New York Times article outlines,
“The episode demonstrates the extent to which the administration views social networking as a new arrow in its diplomatic quiver. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talks regularly about the power of e-diplomacy, particularly in places where the mass media are repressed.”
The paper also quoted Jon Williams, a BBC reporter, as saying, “The days when regimes can control the flow of information are over.”