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The State Department made even the biggest microblogging skeptics take a second look at Twitter, when it requested that the service not go down for scheduled maintenance, because of the situation in Iran after the presidential election. NYU professor Clay Shirky is not among the biggest Twitter skeptics, but he’s certainly examined the service closely. TED Conferences Chris Anderson interviewed Shirky about the unfolding events in Iran and the use of social media. “This is it. The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media,” said Shirky.

Besides the real drama of reports coming from inside an evolving protest there is another evolution at work that Shirky notes — that of social media itself as people around the globe learn how it can be used. “We’re seeing the medium invent itself in real time,” he told Anderson. He calls the one-to-one communication in a news story a “sea change” citing a tweet sent from Tehran that read, “the American media may not care, but the American people do.”

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