After the Iranian election last June, the perception of Twitter will never be the same. As the government cracked down on mounting protests and cut off traditional media outlets, including Websites, news from the front lines continued to filter out through Twitter - the social network that restricts users to 140 characters. Twitter's utility as a source of information during the protests was so valuable that the Obama administration quietly asked the company to delay a temporary shutdown to overhaul its service. PJ Crowley, an assistant secretary of state for public affairs, told The New York Times: "This was just a call to say: 'It appears Twitter is playing an important role at a crucial time in Iran. Could you keep it going?'"

In other words, the Obama administration wanted communication continuity at a time of tumult and confusion. What's interesting about the timing of this development is that Twitter, as well as other social networking tools such as Facebook and blogs, are becoming more important customer communication tools at some banks. Most of the big banks, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, are experimenting with the technology, and some smaller banks are as well.

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