Nepal quake: Twitter to rescue even as some on social media lose plot

  • Jayanth Jacob and Neha Mahajan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 27, 2015 11:38 IST

Twitter has become the most effective tool for ministers and officials to coordinate relief or help people in distress after Saturday's massive earthquake in Nepal .

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and government officials overseeing evacuation of Indians stranded in the quake-ravaged Himalayan nation have been active on the popular microblogging site, where people have posted complaints, information and SOSs for rescue and relief.

Swaraj is taking note of most of these tweets and asking officials to help those in distress. Many of these tweets were addressed to the minister by relatives of Indians stranded in Nepal.

"Mam, reachout to indian people stranded in tundikhel maidan, help them, they are hungry (sic)," reads a post, one of the many alerts about the scarcity of food and water in the neighbouring nation battling to pick up the pieces after its worst natural disaster in a century.

Swaraj has promptly responded to most of the tweets, activating the official machinery to do follow-ups as quickly as possible.

The help from Twitter came amid ripples of the earthquake hitting the virtual world, where some were left red-faced thanks to their insensitive promos and embarrassing posts on social media.

The disaster also highlighted the negative aspect of social media. From politicians to brands, everyone tried to cash in but they were slammed for their insensitivity.

From eyewear e-tailer Lenskart, which yanked a promo that called on users to "shake it off like this earthquake", to BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, who deleted a tweet about the quake, there were folks who reacted without thinking and paid the price.

Lenskart apologised for its promo sent by SMS, saying it had "referred to the earthquake in poor taste" and was completely unacceptable. It also said it had put in place safeguards to "ensure that is never ever repeated".

Another Indian online shopping site, American Swan, sent out an SMS with an "earth shattering offer" on its line of clothing and fashion accessories. Read more about the insensitive posts at: How they got it wrong .

Also read:

Those earthquake predictions on your WhatsApp are humbug, govt has word of caution

22 Mount Everest climbers die in quake-triggered avalanches

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