Twitter was witness to a simple back-and-forth between the social network's co-founder Jack Dorsey and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday. And, despite being a small exchange, it could be a signal of a change to come for Iran's citizens.
Dorsey first tweeted, "Good evening, President. Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets?" And, in response, Rouhani said, "Evening, @Jack. As I told @camanpour, my efforts geared 2 ensure my ppl'll comfortably b able 2 access all info globally as is their #right."
Newly elected Rouhani has been making waves in his homeland when it comes to social media. Not only is he (or one of his staffers) a fairly active tweeter and Facebooker, he's also via his social-media accounts.
While the same could be said about US President Barack Obama, the big difference here is that social networking is banned for Iranian citizens.
Rouhani's more hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,in 2009. The Iranian government has also experienced a contentious relationship with news sites and e-mail hosts in the past. Over the last few years, the government blocked access to , Google's search engine, and . Several times last year, Iran even .
Since taking office two months ago, Rouhani has tried to cast himself as a more tech savvy and politically open leader. Recently, there have been several signs that he might be opening up social media and the Internet in Iran. Last month, Rouhani evenin an endeavor called government-as-Facebook Friends.
People thought the social-media blockadea couple of weeks ago after a technical glitch turned on both Twitter and Facebook throughout the country. However, government officials said it was an error and the blockade was still on. At the time, there was some speculation it wasn't really a glitch, but rather among top Iranian officials.
While Rouhani has attempted to appear more progressive, it's unclear if and when the Internet will become more accessible to Iran's citizens since the country's hard-liners continue to hold a tight rein.