For those of you that don't know, Facebook and Twitter have been blocked here in the People's Republic of China for the past several months.

While most would say that this offers a lessons regarding censorship, an equally important lesson is what it teaches us about systems engineering, specifically the design of communications networks.

Because Twitter and Facebook are privately-owned, walled gardens, they make for very easy targets for censors.  The various systems that make up the Internet work so well because they were designed to be decentralized and distributed, allowing the network or at least parts of it to keep functioning in the case of nuclear attack.

Twitter can't even function properly under the normal load of its own customers... A little Party propaganda brings them both to their knees.  We need a better solution...

Update: Turns out Bitcoin was the solution I was looking for. If only I knew at the time I wrote this post!