“Citizen journalism” using Twitter and Blogs in Mumbai

My Twitter contacts were all talking about it within the first few hours, and now I see that main stream media has picked up the story too: Twitter and Blogs were the most frequented information channels during the first few hours of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last Wednesday. Brian Caulfield and Naazneen Karmali, call this “Citizen journalism” in their recent article in Forbes. Others call this “Twitter’s moment” – people were using rapid tweets to report attacks throughout the city.

There are several visitors from around the world who are updating their Twitter accounts constantly and reporting almost quicker than the the CNN journalists in fron the of Taj. I am following some of them and watching the news at the same time. Astounding how quick information is spreading.

I read one concern in using SMS and Twitter messaging during terrorist attacks: Tweets can unfortunately reveal people’s locations, whether they were using their smartphone at the train station or in one of the cafes. The downside of social media…The attackers’ origin was determined based on their cellphones (at the moment it seems as if most of them are from Pakistan). That the upside, I guess… if there is one at all.

About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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