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Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter by Sarah-Jayne Gratton

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Chapter 9

A Geography Lesson: The Global Power of Twitter

“How can it be said I am alone when all the world is here to look on me?”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Twitter is no doubt a force to be reckoned with given its power to grab the world’s attention. It has been embraced globally as a channel for tweeting against injustice, especially by people in countries where freedom of speech would have previously been impossible. That’s why there was a global uproar when Twitter announced its plan to censor certain tweets in certain counties, those that contain content deemed to be illegal by their governments. The move immediately prompted an international outcry, along with calls for a boycott from some users.

“Thank you for the #censorship, #twitter, with love from the governments of #Syria, #Bahrain, #Iran, #Turkey, #China, #Saudi, and friends,” wrote Bjorn Nilsson, a Twitter user in Sweden.

Today, if someone posts a message that insults a country’s monarchy or government, which is punishable by a jail term, it is blocked and unavailable to Twitter users in that country, although still visible elsewhere. What’s more, Twitter users throughout the country in question are notified that something was removed: Where the tweet once would have been visible, it is now replaced with a gray box containing a clear note, as shown in Figure 9-1: “Tweet withheld. This tweet from @username has been ...

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