Twitter has rescheduled its planned downtime to better assist Iranians utilizing the real-time social-networking service to protest what many Iranian citizens consider a possibly fraudulent presidential election. Twitter launching its upgrade during the previously scheduled time would have disrupted service to Iran during prime hours. Along with Facebook and other social-networking sites, Twitter has become a major communication tool for large segments of the international population.
Twitter has shifted its planned downtime in order to remain
up and running during Iran's prime daylight hours, the better to assist
what some Iranians consider a possibly fraudulent presidential
Twitter's maintenance has now been rescheduled for between 2
and 3 p.m., PST, which corresponds to 1:30 a.m. in Iran. Originally, the upgrade
had been planned for the night of June 16.
"However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the
role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in
Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder, wrote in a corporate blog posting that
afternoon. "Our partners are taking a huge risk just not for Twitter
but also the other
services they support worldwide-we commend them for being flexible in
essentially an inflexible situation."
The Iranian elections have emerged as a hot topic on Twitter,
even driving many to reconsider the power of the social-networking service,
which lets its users post 140-character micro-blogs, or "tweets," for the public
"Thought Twitter was stupid until I saw how it was being used
to cover the protests and tumult in Iran," wrote one Twitter
"Turn your avatar green to support Iran protests," several
other Tweets ordered.
Twitter grew approximately 131 percent in March 2009,
according to research company comScore, and now has more than 9.3 million site
the online rumor-mill has buzzed about the possibility of a Google, Facebook or
Microsoft acquisition of the three-year-old site,
Stone has publicly
commented on his desire to keep the company independent for now.
Despite doubts by some analysts and pundits as to its
ultimate utility, Twitter has also been incorporated more frequently into
enterprise offerings, such as Salesforce.com; the site
has also been collaborating with other companies, most notably Microsoft, to set
up sponsored pages.
"We were joking in the office that if this growth rate
continues week over week, we'll run out of people on Planet Earth to sign up to
Twitter by the end of the year," Stone reportedly said at the Reuters Global
Technology Summit in New York, via video link, in May.
At least some of those people, evidently, include the
protesters in Iran.