Twitter scores, TV disappoints
It was a day when the new media cast the not-so-new media in the shade. After bomb blasts ripped through Mumbai on Wednesday evening, TV news channels went into overdrive, reporting from Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar in their by-now familiar style of covering terror attacks.delhi Updated: Jul 15, 2011 00:55 IST
It was a day when the new media cast the not-so-new media in the shade. After bomb blasts ripped through Mumbai on Wednesday evening, TV news channels went into overdrive, reporting from Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar in their by-now familiar style of covering terror attacks.
The focus was on the wreckage, the bloodstains and wounded people. Cameras caught chaotic hospital scenes, intruding on the dignity of injured people being carried on stretchers or lying on hospitals beds.
Despite international precedents dating back to 9/11, when American TV networks made a conscious attempt not to telecast disturbing images, Indian television has stuck to its obtrusive approach, tapping into viewers’ insecurities, rather than acting as a calming force.
In contrast, it was social networking site Twitter that turned into a knight in shining armour. The site was flooded with offers to help anyone affected by the blasts.
Even @twi, Twitter’s official Indian account jumped into the fray with a tweet that read: “Twitter users in Mumbai are using the hashtags #needhelp and #here2help to help people affected by the blasts. Search will work on mobile.” Indeed, #here2help was one the top trending topics on Twitter on July 13.
The Twiterrati were out in full force. A few were tweeting about hospitals requiring certain blood types (“B-ve donors needed at KEM Hospital, Parel #Mumbai contact 022-24135189/24107421 #needhelp”).
Many offered stranded victims food and shelter, while others were worried about missing people (“ANYBODY KNOW WHERE @nikhilwarrier IS?” Can’t get through to him AT ALL!”). Those stuck on the roads were tweeting about the traffic conditions in their area to help others.
Nitin Sagar, a 26-year-old professional from Delhi, put up a Google spreadsheet to consolidate all this information.
Users could add details such as their location, contact information and the kind of help they could offer to this spreadsheet, which has already been shared hundreds of thousands of times via Twitter. At the time of going to press, the spreadsheet had more than 250 names. Sagar said,
“I thought of creating a spreadsheet because it is easy for information to get lost on Twitter.”