On Tuesday Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter with about 2.5 million followers, posted a tweet on his account asking President Rouhani:
“Good evening, President. Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets?”
Not more than a few hours later, Rouhani responded:
“Evening @Jack. As I told @camanpour, my efforts are geared 2 ensured my ppl’ll comfortably b able 2 access all info globally as is their #right.”
While Dorsey refers to the social media being filtered in Iran, I want to look at his question from a different perspective. I want to reword his question: “Good evening, President. Will citizens of Iran read your tweets?” and the answer is probably “No!”. Twitter is not generally popular among Iranians and filtered or not, citizens of Iran will not read his tweets save those reflected in news.
So why Rouhani posts on a platform which neither is open to Iranians, nor is popular among them? I believe he does not post on Twitter for Iranians. His target audience is beyond Iran’s borders where Twitter is highly read. This is why, I believe, that his posts are in English not Farsi. At the same time Rouhani uses Facebook to communicate with his domestic audience and you see that all of his posts are in Farsi.
In general different social media platforms are used for different goals based on their technical and social properties. For example celebrities mostly post their photos on Facebook or Instagram while they use tweeter to share news. Different uses based on technical differences are more or less obvious, e.g. especial tools for sharing photos on Instagram. But how social features of each platform affect how the platform is used? What factors determine social features and how they evolve over time? I believe these questions are fundamental for a correct understanding of dynamics of social media.