Clinton Aide: Twitter Revolts, Like in Egypt, Take Just Weeks

Anticipating Friday's protests, Egypt moved to shut down cellular phone and Internet service.

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Beware the social media organized revolutions taking place in countries like Egypt, Jordan, and Albania. A top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says they work, and fast.

Alec Ross, Clinton's senior adviser for innovation, says that with online tools and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, uprisings can flash together quickly and results can come quickly.

"Revolutions no longer take months," he told an audience at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark., this week. "They take weeks." Why? The Internet. "You can go from zero to 60 like that," he says, according to our Suzi Parker who covered his speech.

Ross says that "connection technologies" act as accelerants for revolutions. The days of meetings in basements and safe houses to organize are over, but he says governments can also wield social media for their own reasons. "Networks disrupt for good and for ill," he says.

Anticipating Friday's protests, Egypt moved to shut down cellular phone and Internet service.

But Ross, who has over 300,000 Twitter followers, says that governments like Tunisia and Egypt should not "batten down the hatches" and cut off communications. As Ross tweeted early Friday, "The USA continues to urge the Govt of #Egypt to allow peaceful demonstrations and no blocking of communications, including Internet."

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