The analysis on the technological aspects of this event in the past few days have revealed a different story. It still involves Twitter, but Twitter has a different role. While Twitter had a part in the pre-protest mobilization in and around Chisinau on Monday night, it may not have necessarily turned the protests into mobs or rioters, nor did it necessarily invoke the violence that occurred on Tuesday, as some believe.
As Evegeny Morozov, a fellow at the Open Society Institute, pointed out, Twitter’s more important role was getting the information out to the world, bringing it international attention and keeping the story alive and buzzing, as well as acting as a channel to push out user-generated content from on the ground. After some great immediate analysis of the Twitter scene in Moldova (which was a follow up to his initial, but still quite insightful assessment on Tuesday), Morozov found that there were actually very few registered Twitter users in the country, and he suspects that most of the Tweets on #pman were not on the ground and were elsewhere in the world, taking information and pushing it along.
Aside from the fact that the government of Moldova quickly shut down cell phone service for the square where the riots took place, it seems there is limited use for Twitter in terms of mobilization efforts once you already have people in the square. The violence was somewhat self-contained and more of a product of human beings being human beings than a technologically enhanced provocation. As you might predict, the use of a megaphone became more useful than using Twitter.
However, the broader set of social media tools beyond Twitter seems to have played a greater part in the process of mobilization than originally thought, as Daniel Bennett hints at in his blog post discussing the events. One commenter to Bennet’s blog, Julien, stated that “If it were social media, I’d say it were rather social networks like Facebook.