I recognize that it's still fashionable to bash Twitter as being a useless toy for people with too much free time (despite many, many examples of how useful it is for those who use it properly). Yet, for anyone paying attention this past weekend, Twitter has emerged as an amazingly powerful communications tool as to what's happening in Iran
, where there are massive protests, riots, rallies and attacks following the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iran Twazzup page
has had a tremendous wealth of information from inside and outside Iran -- the sort of information that we wouldn't know about otherwise. It's an amazing view into the country that simply wasn't possible in the past. I remember in the runup to the war in Iraq, there were a few Iraqi bloggers you could follow to get a sense of what was going on in the country, but nothing like the massive ability of thousands of people to easily get the word out on what they're seeing on the streets of Tehran and elsewhere. It's really quite impressive, and I'm hard pressed to see how anyone could look at what's coming out of Iran via Twitter, and then claiming that Twitter isn't a useful or different communication tool.
With all that going on, it's fascinating to see that Twitter and its data center partner, NTT, have actually chosen to delay some critical updates
, knowing that cutting off communications from Iran just as so many people are relying on it would be a disaster. While this does highlight a separate problem -- about the fact that as Twitter becomes a critical communication channel for some, the fact that it is a "single point of failure" is worrisome. It's definitely something that will need to be addressed at some point.