Even as the terrible attacks that are taking place in the financial capital of India, Mumbai (Bombay) started to unfold, users of Twitter in India started using the micro-blogging service to discuss the events as they happened. Other users wasted no time uploading pictures from the scenes of terror to their Flickr accounts.
Twitter users in and around the area started sending eye-witness accounts of the events on a minute by minute basis. Almost 70 – 80 tweets were posted within 5 seconds, and since Twitter has over 6 million users the news was spread really fast.
In fact, even some of the major Television and radio stations such as BBC and CNN used information sent through Twitter and photos posted on Flickr by ordinary citizens who were present at the spot, such as the ones shown above and below here:
Users not only sent out details about the terrorist attack, but also messages asking people to donate blood at the major hospitals, along with the contact numbers to help out in the crisis. Some people also used the site to reassure their near and dear ones about their safety.
Flickr and Twitter were not the only sites used. A new entry was created on Wikipedia, which local users added details to, as they occurred. Somebody else actually pinpointed the location of the buildings where the mayhem in progress on Google Maps.
While the BBC, CNN and every major newspaper has dedicated a lot of space to the events still unfolding in Mumbai, people increasingly seem to turn to user-generated content on sites like Twitter to get the “real”, unfiltered information as it happens.
Important Note: Please remember that these same tools of communication can be used by the terrorists to keep in touch and convey the latest information to each other. Also if citizens post too many details about the rescue operations in progress, the terrorists can benefit from this information, and change their positions or tactics if necessary. Users must therefore exercise caution regarding the information they send out.