The White House blocks Twitter? Shirley, that was a joke! Please.

About an hour ago, I saw this tweet from CSPAN that says, “On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, WH press secretary Robert Gibbs says Twitter is blocked on White House computers.”

As I know how challenging it is to write in 140 characters, I’m guessing there is some “out-of-context” going on in that tweet, but nonetheless, I’m sure there’s at least some “I wish it were” sentiment in the line, even if it is a joke, which I’m hoping it is.

The irony of joking (and again, I’m assuming this was a joke — please, someone, tell me this was a joke) about blocking Twitter will be lost on the Iranian protesters who used Twitter to send messages to the West and to whom, @whitehouse is a symbol of the West. To them, “blocking Twitter” means blocking a last-gasp note in a bottle channel of communication.

I could list the countries that “block” channels of communication when they don’t like the message, but the irony of that would really pour cold-water on the humor Robert Gibbs was attempting (and I’m assuming it was humor, surely).

However, as I was driving into the office (after seeing that tweet), I thought of all the ways a person can use Twitter and the URL “Twitter.com” — what I assume the White House or any institution who has the ability to “block” anything — would be “blocking.” Saying you “block” Twitter when what you’re blocking is Twitter.com is the surest sign of saying, “I don’t get Twitter.” (And believe me, there are lots of other ways to say that.)

Twitter.com is not Twitter. There are hundreds, thousands, or other ways to listen to or express oneself on Twitter.
The White House would have to confiscate every cell-phone to block Twitter. They would have to block dozens of sites like Seesmic that are browser-based dashboards for managing Twitter — that allow you to manage tweets like e-mail.

And literally thousands of sites from Flickr to Facebook (and I’m just picking two everyone knows) allow everything posted there to be fed out via Twitter. Does the White House block them?

No doubt, some clarification has been issued by now — or will be soon.

Surely this was a punch-line.

Shirley.