The First Casualty

I had to read this paragraph from the BBC about the recent Iranian elections twice to make sure I understood it correctly:

The official said the state department contacted Twitter over the weekend to urge it to delay a planned upgrade that could have cut daytime service to Iranians.

So, let me get this straight. The US state department monitors Twitter traffic and is reviewing what Iranians are commenting on the topic of their government. The department wanted to prevent an upgrade to Twitter that might stop the flow of revolutionist propaganda getting back out on the street and starting a larger movement.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good call. It just caught me a little by surprise.

I guess I shouldn’t actually be surprised by this but it marks a very definite transition (to me at least) for Twitter. Folks at Twitter have probably been feeling it for years though. The point is though that it’s no longer a fun toy.

Twitter is now, amongst other things, a marketing place for the public, politicians, and companies. But for government departments it’s also a socio-political barometer.

Innocence lost.