Friday, November 28, 2008

Amid Chaos, Citizens Spread Word on Web - WSJ.com

I've been following #Mumbai Twitter online. The terror has taken a new dimension. The question is, how can an open society build a defense line? Think about 40 determined people causing such a tremendeous damage. Mumbai (Bombay) is one world's largest cities. Those 40 men were able to take hostage of the whole city. Twitter has been one of the tools spreading word around the globe. Much will be talked about the accuracy of reporting.

Amid Chaos, Citizens Spread Word on Web - WSJ.com: "The Mumbai attacks have unleashed a storm of live updates from residents, swelling traffic and content on sites such as Twitter and Yahoo Inc.'s photo Web site Flickr. A Googlemap on the attack sites was swiftly put up. A lengthy entry about the attacks on user-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia surfaced in less than an hour.

The interactivity demonstrates how Asia's technologically sophisticated populations are becoming citizen journalists and increasingly being the first sources of information on disasters like the Mumbai attacks and China's earthquake earlier this year, often outpacing traditional media outlets.

Experts say the late adoption but rapid spread of Internet and cellphone usage has made people in India and China quicker to embrace these new technologies. Compared with the U.S., 'the cellphone system and SMS culture is stronger in Asia,' said Sree Sreenivasan, a new-media professor at Columbia University.

Sites such as San Fancisco-based Twitter Inc.'s are 'one more step in the evolution,' of news-gathering, he said. He notes that bloggers played a prominent role in disseminating information during the 2004 Asian tsunami, as well as the heavy use of text-messaging during the 2006 Mumbai train blasts."
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