Twitter on the Barricades – Six Lessons Learned

But does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the
two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that
only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran
and that other means — individual text messaging,
old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites — were more
influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the
cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over
enlisting world opinion. As the Iranian government restricts
journalists’ access to events, the protesters have used Twitter’s agile
communication system to direct the public and journalists alike to
video, photographs and written material related to the protests. (As
has become established custom on Twitter, users have agreed to mark, or
“tag,” each of their tweets with the same bit of type — #IranElection —
so that users can find them more easily). So maybe there was no Twitter
Revolution. But over the last week, we learned a few lessons about the
strengths and weaknesses of a technology that is less than three years
old and is experiencing explosive growth. — Noam Cohen, New York Times