DEBORCHGRAVE Commentary: Age of Twitter vs. tyranny
 Tuesday , June 23 , 2009

Age of Twitter vs. tyranny

Arnaud de Borchgrave

Until recently , a twitter was simply a bird making high-pitched mating calls. Now Twitter is in the vanguard of an army of cybernauts whose speedy steeds are propelling both democratic and authoritarian governments through a period of social change more profound than anything we have experienced in 5 , 000 years of recorded history.

Twitter , Facebook , Flickr , My Space , YouTube , MySpace , LinkedIn , Web blogs , Podcasts , Stumbleupon , Technorati , Social Wheehz , Stunt Pilot , instant messaging , social networking , Web sites , in short what Web 2.0 is spawning with hundreds of millions of users. And all this is but a pixel on the “Web’s edge , ” according to the engineers building Web 3.0 , the Internet of 2020 and beyond.

Twitter , now almost 3 years old , has graduated from the banal to a geopolitical convulsion; it has already shaken Iran ‘s regime of aging theocrats to its foundations. Limited to 140 characters per tweet , put down by detractors as cackle prattle , Twitter demonstrated it can mobilize hundreds of thousands for street demonstrations against a despotic regime.

Inconsequential social networking became instant social mobilization – and sources of reporting for television networks whose correspondents were ordered to pack their gear and fly home. But seven in 10 Iranians owns a mobile and 35 out of 100 use the Internet , which is more than Greece .

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