In the past, I've questioned the utility of Twitter, and I received many great responses from readers about how they utilize the microblogging service. But for a glimpse at the true power of Twitter, YouTube and other Web 2.0 technologies, you need only take a look at what has happened in Iran the past five days. With a crackdown on journalists, Twitter has provided much of the information coming out of the country about the election protests. Andrew Sullivan has compiled many of these Tweets, as well as the YouTube videos of the protests.
Our correspondent Douglas Rushkoff explains what's going on at The Daily Beast:
The net result proves that the age of the totalitarian dictatorship is over. Pictures of protests, police violence, and the reality of life on the streets in post-election Iran manage to seep out through the social networks. It's impossible for any American user of Twitter to remain focused on the iPhone's new features with this much real world life-and-death stuff crowding the inbox.
On the Internet, content is not king--it never was. The value of Tweets right now is less the information they contain than the solidarity they promote. Like civil-rights protesters who sang rousing hymns as they were carried off to jail, Twitterers are bearing witness to what's happening around them, and calling out into the darkness of cyberspace for confirmation. I'm here. You're here, too. We are present.
Read the full piece at The Daily Beast.