Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reuters AlertNet - Twitter in Mumbai

The value of Twitter in the #Mumbai Terrorist Attack Reporting channel is scrutinized by Andrew Stroehlein. The tweets didn't, in his opinion, add with any substantial news. His critic is well founded from a news reporting and journalistic standpoint. Tweeters aren't professional journalists. But should we think about this as a conversational and therapeutic process that starts at the very beginning of an incident. There are of course also security concerns when tweets are disclosing things that "other side" can use for evil purposes. Tweets can also be used to deliver hatered and false information. The crowd doesn't act as a controlled, organized, well organized community. The crowd expresses feelings and sentiments. Traditional media focuses on "facts" and what is considered as "objective" information.

Reuters AlertNet - Twitter in Mumbai: "Written by: Andrew Stroehlein | Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

I will try to make this blog entry 140 characters long, since that is the longest possible message on Twitter, which some are raving about as a source of news during the Mumbai attacks. I'm not exactly convinced. And I'm already over 140 characters.

As someone who has previously equated 'citizen journalism' with 'citizen dentistry' Twitter heads were obviously going to have a hard time convincing me. There have been a few interesting articles trying to make the case with the attacks in Mumbai, however, including one from Mathew Ingram, who boldly claims 'Yes, Twitter is a source of journalism'.

Reuters also has had a good piece on 'citizen journalism' in the Mumbai case, as does France 24, CNN and others.

I remain sceptical, however. Looking through the Twitter search stream for 'Mumbai', I see so much useless information, I quickly get the feeling I am wasting my time. There are some personal notes -- very welcome no doubt if you have family or friends caught up in the madness and would like to know if they're OK, but it's not information that offers anything anyone can act upon..."
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