James Harkin writes:
On a balmy evening in April 2009 Barham Salih, then deputy prime minister of Iraq, sat in the garden of his Baghdad villa while a young internet entrepreneur called Jack Dorsey tried to persuade him that he needed to be on Twitter. Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, was in Baghdad at the invitation of the State Department. Over the previous three days, he and eight other Silicon Valley bigwigs, kitted out with helmets and flak jackets, had been bundled around Baghdad in an armoured convoy, meeting anyone there was to meet. They’d been introduced to the prime minister’s council of advisers, glad-handed the Iraqi Investment National Commission and spoken to a group of engineering students from Baghdad University; they’d even had time to fit in a visit to the Iraqi National Museum. Among them were several high-ranking engineers from Google, the founder of the community organising tool Meetup, a vice-president of the firm behind the blogging platform WordPress, and an executive from Blue State Digital, the internet strategy firm that had done a fair bit to help Obama to the presidency the previous November.