Yesterday’s terrorist attack at multiple locations of Mumbai resulted in a Tweets frenzy where minute-by-minute updates about the location of the blasts/skirmishes, positions of the security forces, location of the journalists and safe passages for stranded commuters, among other things, were discussed.
Indian authorities, however, cautioned twitters to abstain from discussing positions of security forces as terrorists might be following the same network. There were rumors that authorities are going to ban Twitter but they died after some hours. However, this whole episode has given way to a discussion about the pros and cons of Twitter. Critics are saying, and rightly so, that a social network like Twitter can never be a source of news as it has no authority and anyone can write any sort of rumor in the garb of breaking news.
TechCrunch lauded the tweets in its initial update post but a majority of commenters were of different opinion. One wrote,
“Iâ€™m not against Citizen Journalism – but on itâ€™s own a single photo means nothing – itâ€™s only in aggregate or with corroborated accounts from trusted sources can you use such media to add value to such a news story.”
Whereas another one said,
“Twitter has been successful in distributing the news and alerts much more than that of CNN or any news station in India, like IBN or NDTV, solely because its aggregating information from all places.”
Twitter is a great application and given the security situation in Pakistan, much much worse than India, Can we use Twitter to run alerts and break news? At least, we can update people about safe havens/exits in case of a major attack. But the basic issue is the low penetration of the application. What do you think?