The recent Iranian election demonstrates the mind boggling power of cloud computing, social networking, and the role technology can play to improve the predictability of politics.Think about it.\u00a0 Here in the U.S., it takes weeks to count millions of ballots in Florida and a few months to count thousands of ballots in Minnesota. But in Iran the vote counting is nearly instantaneous.Consider how much more efficient things are in Iran where they can count millions of hand-written ballots \u2013 with fully consolidated reporting \u2013 in a matter of hours.\u00a0 Obviously, they must have some serious Persian\/Farsi-based character recognition software in addition to computing capacity equal to Google\u2019s and the NSA\u2019s. Combined.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Now while I don\u2019t claim to be an insider (and\u2014full disclosure\u2014the Iranian government is not one of my company\u2019s clients), I\u2019m almost certain this astounding speed was achieved with the aid of cloud computing. There is simply is no other reasonable explanation.\u00a0 So there you have it: today, Iran, unlike the U.S., is able to leverage cloud computing. And consider the apparently ubiquitous adoption of social networking in Iran. It appears that those Iranians unhappy with the voting process (not to mention the result) are relying heavily on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to voice their displeasure, using proxy servers to get around government interference. Now the last thing any self-respecting despotic government needs is improved, real-time social communication networks that can empower citizens. But what, as any aspiring dictator might ask, can you do? Well, Iran is not taking its citizens\u2019 exercise of digital freedom lying down. According to ComputerWorld, Iran has declared cyberwar (Iran's leaders fight Internet; Internet wins - so far ) in order to try to shut up those voters who don\u2019t seem to appreciate the government\u2019s technological advancements in vote-counting in the cloud.\u00a0\u00a0 Alas, as ComputerWorld reports, the Internet is a tough enemy \u201cbecause of the resilience of a communications grid originally designed to be both resilient and pervasive. In fact, [the government\u2019s] actions may also be crippling banking systems and hindering commerce in what is a technologically advanced nation. Cutting off Internet access affects more than Web sites or Twitter and Facebook. Credit card and ATM systems could be affected, as could critical infrastructures.\u201d This all goes to prove that cloud computing is alive and well in Iran. I\u2019m not so sure about the instantaneous vote-counting application (it could be vaporware), but clearly social applications like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are operating in a cloud\/SaaS model.So there you have it: rigged elections, a killer application to drive cloud computing and social networking. The U.S. better get on the stick. Clearly, we\u2019re facing a cloud computing gap.\u00a0\u00a0 As always, I welcome your comments, tips, insights and topic suggestions.\u00a0 You can reach me at email@example.com.Michael Bullock is the founder and CEO of Transitional Data Services (TDS), a Boston, MA-based consulting firm that\u00a0specializes in data center optimization \/ design \/ build,\u00a0 data center consolidation \/ relocation, enterprise applications and technical operations.\u00a0 Prior to founding TDS, Bullock held executive leadership positions at Student Advantage, CMGI and Renaissance Worldwide.