Out of the 100 random tweets, each one was retweeted an average of 57.8 times. The tweet that received the highest volume of retweets had 311 retweets. The smallest had only 6 retweets. Most of the tweets I found had between 30 and 50 retweets.
Of course this was done during normal Eastern Time hours, so it may be that the volume fluctuates throughout the day. But it does show that a single tweet coming out of Iran can be seen by a massive volume of Twitter users fairly easily.
I’d be interested to see how many of those retweets come from inside Iran: this would give us some indication as to the extent of it’s use – within the country – as a tool. Then again, when someone in Canada can retweet about an embassy being open or closed on the back of what someone in Singapore said, who got it in turn from someone in the UK, who saw it from an Iranian, does it matter that much how the information is spread?
It’s easy to concentrate on one tool and it’s obvious that sections of the mainstream media do so. It’s not a replacement for real journalism, but real journalism has it’s limits, especially if journalists are put in jail or asked to leave the country. So Twitter has some role to play.