CNN.com reports that “social media appeared to come of age and signaled itself as a news-gathering force to be reckoned with” within minutes of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India.
With more than 6 million members worldwide, an estimated 80 messages, or “tweets,” were being sent to Twitter.com via SMS every five seconds, providing eyewitness accounts and updates.
Many Twitter users also sent pleas for blood donors to make their way to specific hospitals in Mumbai where doctors were faced with low stocks and rising casualties.
Others sent information about helplines and contact numbers for those who had friends and relatives caught up in the attacks. Tweeters were also mobilized to help with transcribing a list of the dead and injured from hospitals, which were quickly posted online.
As Twitter user “naomieve” wrote: “Mumbai is not a city under attack as much as it is a social media experiment in action.”
Neha Viswanathan, a former regional editor for Southeast Asia and a volunteer at Global Voices, told CNN, “Even before I actually heard of it on the news I saw stuff about this on Twitter.
“People were sending in messages about what they were hearing. There were at least five or six blogs from people who were trapped, or who were very close to what happened.”