Earlier today Edward Snowden joined Twitter. As you would expect his @Snowden account is picking up followers at a fast pace with over 400k followers in the first 3 hours. It’s great to see so many Twitter users interested in privacy. Say what you will about Mr. Snowden, even those who are against his actions must admit that he brought the topic of privacy to the forefront. The rapid growth of his Twitter account is just another signal of support from internet users around the world.
While Snowden already has nearly half a million Twitter followers he is only following one account, the NSA. I think Twitter is a good platform for Snowden to share his views, thoughts, and ideas with a global audience. In his first couple hours on Twitter, Snowden had a brief conversation with Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson that sums up the thoughts of many Americans.
Neil deGrasse Tyson – Ed
@Snowden, many call you Hero, others Traitor. Whatever else you are, you’re a Geek to me. What do you say to those labels?
Snowden – .
@neiltyson Hero, traitor — I’m just a citizen with a voice.
Snowden’s response to Mr. Tyson is short and to the point but it carries a lot of weight. He is indeed just a citizen with a voice. Ed didn’t hold a public position or have any reason to be in the limelight. I’m sure he didn’t want to spend years in Russia at the outset but he knew what had to be done and he did it. Mr. Snowden is a shining example of just how much of a difference one voice can make in our connected culture. His joining Twitter will continue to carry that voice throughout the world.
Twiter has been a voice for many citizens around the world who knew that they had to speak out. It’s fitting that Snowden chose this platform to interact with others. He hasn’t stayed quiet by any means. Ed has taken part in many tech conferences and continues to promote the use of strong encryption as technology continues to inundate our lives. I sincerely hope that one day soon Mr. Snowden can return to the United States without fear of persecution. I don’t think the government is ready for that yet but as history has shown that sentiment could easily change in the future. For now I suggest you follow @Snowden and listen to his advice on securing your communications.