(USA TODAY) SAN FRANCISCO — Did Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, not read about what happened in the Ukraine a few weeks ago, after authorities there tried to turn off Twitter?
In short, Twitter is still up and running in that nation, which like nearby Turkey borders the Black Sea.
The Ukranian politician who reportedly ordered that ban, on the other hand, is not, as former President Viktor Yanukovych has fled to Russia.
Russia itself, meanwhile, has just annexed a whole big chunk of Black Sea coastline better known as the Crimean Peninsula, which had belonged to the Ukraine for about 60 years – until its government took on Twitter.
Erdogan on Friday got a glimpse of what Yanukovych and other Ukranian leaders found out the hard way: the appeal of social networks go beyond their unfettered discourse.
Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, in other words, are hard to silence, thanks to their flexibility and durability.
The number of tweets surged in the hours after courts and telecom regulators in that country blocked access to Twitter's Web site.
The first twitter account to fight back against the ban belonged to Twitter itself, as its @policy feed tweeted instructions on how users in Turkey could still access the service using whatever messaging app was installed on their cellular phone.
Twitter, the company, also posted instructions on how users could change the Domain Name Settings, or DNS, on their PCs and mobile devices to disguise the fact that they were located in Turkey.
Google then entered the political fray, posting on one of its corporate Twitter feeds specific instructions on how to use some of the search giant's own DNS numbers to circumvent the ban.
In a provocative example of real life imitating the digital world, those Google DNS numbers – 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 – were soon spray painted as political graffiti onto at least one building in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul.
The workarounds worked, as more than 2.5 million tweets – or over 17,000 per minute – were reportedly posted in the first 24 hours after the ban, according to several media reports.
HootSuite, a Vancouver, Canada-based startup that measures and analyzes Twitter marketing campaigns, said in a corporate blog post that its traffic from Turkey tripled in the first day after the ban.
The hashtag "#TwitterisblockedinTurkey" quickly rose near the top of the microblogging sites top trending terms across the globe.
Erdogan, Turkey's most-conservative Islamic leader in several generations, has accused political opponents of using Twitter to slander him over allegations of corruption.
Twitter's market penetration in Turkey puts the country at No. 8 on the global list, according to HootSuite.
One of Erdogan's staunchest political allies, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, called the ban "unacceptable" on his Twitter account.
The fact that Gul delivered the message over his own Twitter feed — technically in violation of the ban — showed how powerless it was.
The attempt to ban Twitter by Erdogan, leader of the longest-surviving secular Islamic government in the region, has so far proved a failure.
The list of political leaders toppled by Twitter grows longer every year, as the social media site was used by successful populist revolts across North Africa.
Now, with the populist wave that began along the Mediterranean Sea washing into the Black Sea, Erdogan may want to think about revisiting his Twitter ban, lest he soon join that list.
John Shinal has covered tech and financial markets for 15 years at Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal Digital Network and others. Follow him on Twitter: @johnshinal.