Don't Mess With Twitter

Crowley is upset by "the way people have confused [Twitter's] value as an organizing tool with its value as a news source." He points to Joshua Kucera who "fact-checks" tweets and lauds the primacy of print media. One of the tweets he checks was one we posted on Monday, which said:

There are reports of about 3M ppl out on the streets.

But there were reports of 3 million people in the streets. Here's Time:

2 million to 3 million Iranians from a broad cross section of society converged on Freedom Square to demand a recount.

Most news outlets reported the crowds were in the hundreds of thousands, but we have no way of knowing the truth. As we have said many, many times, you should read the tweets, and any other information coming out of Iran, very provisionally. One of Crowley's readers understands:

If [posting tweets] inspires people to go check things out, though, it's still of use. Reporters need leads to follow up on and the reformist protesters need information, and inspiration, to keep them going.

Another commenter:

Twitter is a method of communication, like the phone.  Clearly, people can relay inaccurate information over the phone.  But when you want to move information quickly, phones are invaluable.  Similarly, twitter is very useful for moving (small amounts of) information from one person to multiple people very, very quickly. Does that sound obvious?  It is.  And yet for some reason people keep talking about twitter as if it were some sort of alien technology that is hard to understand.