Ever since cell phone apps hit the Twitterverse, the spike in usage has made regular ongoing maintenance crucial. But Monday night, system integrity took a back seat to international politics.
Twitter planned an upgrade for Monday that would've taken the service down for an hour. The company did the right thing by letting all its users know, so we could all plan around that. But then it didn't happen ? at least not when it was planned. The upgrade took place on Tuesday afternoon instead, thanks to a request made by our federal government.
Here's why in a nutshell: Embattled incumbent Ahmadinejad's anti-American sentiments and nuclear ambitions have made him the object of scrutiny for the international community. Now he claims to have won the recent presidential election, though his rival, Moussavi, disagrees with that proclamation. And the Iranian people are up in arms over a potential election scandal.
Many of the country's young activists are using technology ? like Twitter and Facebook ? to dispute the presidential election and organize protests. And everyday citizens are increasingly relying on technology for news and other information.
Meanwhile, our President hasn't actually come out and made bold statements about the validity of the election results. So it's very interesting that the Obama administration would intervene like this, to keep the tech platform active during a peak communication time. (Originally, the Monday night downtime in America would've occurred on the following Tuesday afternoon in Iran.)
Given this, I think anyone who still denigrates Twitter and its ilk are seriously stuck in the last century. The time of plastering rally posters or running off hundreds of flyers from antiquated printing presses is long gone. Technology is finally beginning to live up to its democratizing potential, enabling a platform for a greater number of people. The Iranian regime may be trying to block digital publishing of its country's domestic unrest (by slowing down network speeds to make uploads excruciatingly slow), but content is still making it out of the country, allowing the political drama to play out on the world stage.
In my book, the importance of 140 characters just hit an all-new high.
[Photo and content via Reuters]