Twitter, Flickr spin Mumbai terror story

Published: November 29, 2008 - 17:20


By Samarth Pathak.

Every calamity in these times finds its own medium of expression. Mumbai's medium turned out to be a microblog site- twitter. The carnage caused by the devastating attacks in Mumbai came as a shock to the people around the world. Expectedly phone lines got jammed what with frantic relatives calling up their friends and relatives in Mumbai. It was then blogging and social networking sites like Twitter,facebook and Flickr emerged as a vital source of information about the fast changing ground reality for not only the people,but also for the media. Infact, Twitter and Flickr were the first to break the news of the tragedy. Minutes after the terrorists opened fire, photographs of the attacks had been uploaded on the net. Users of Twitter succeeded in providing an almost minute to minute account of the terror strike. At any given point of time, nearly 5-10 people were updating the feeds simultaneously, which gave an eyewitness account of the ordeal. Vinu, a user of Flickr, uploaded graphic images of the attack all night long. One update on Twitter said. "Thank you Vinu for showing us the pics. Real courage, amazing passion." Many photographs, posted on, fully express the nature of the horrendous act of terror. In her blog,, blogger Dina Mehta posted the phone numbers of the hospitals and the police control rooms in Mumbai. Users of even pasted the list of those declared dead at the hospitals. One Twitter user, Jiga, updated, "9 terrorists killed so far, 1 arrested, 2-3 terrorists still to be nabbed: Mumbai Police Commissioner; death toll is 143 now."a few seconds after it was confirmed. The power of such blogs giving updated news can be seen by the following fact. According to some reports, Twitter feeds about the plan of action employed by the forces were also used by the media, thereby relaying the valuable information to the militants too. That is why, the authorities even tried to block twitter In India. Many bloggers on expressed strong opinions on the tragic event. Many demanded that P.C Haldar, the head of the Inellligence Bureau should be sacked. Others called the act as 'plain cowardice which must be strictly punished." Some, like Praful Sardana commented: "Politicians are jeopardizing the security of the people by allowing their focus to drift from the issues to their own seats. Its sickening, and something must be done." Even Amitabh Bachhan expressed his anguish by posting in his blog, " For God's sake, let us stop reiterating that cliched "Sprit of Mumbai" retort. Yes Mumbai is strong and resilient and shall not be cowed down by any such occurrence. But let us not conveniently use it as our cover sheet, pull it over our heads and go off to sleep. Because that is what has been happening every time. Incidents of grave disaster have continued to be camouflaged with 'oh, this is Mumbai, we have a great spirit, we will spring back'. Fine, we will, of course. But who is assuring us that the disaster will not !!" Undoubtedly, the audacious terror strike on the financial hub of the nation has numbed the Indian masses. There is a feeling of anger and disbelief in the air. The devastation the attacks have caused poignantly raise serious questions on the internal security of the India, which seems to be engulfed in a wave of terror. But one question, put forward by a blogger on, seems to echo the sentiments of all those affected by the tragedy. She says, "I want my Mumbai back…the one where we breathed free as one…did not see where we came from, the colour of our skin, nor even knew each other's caste or creed. Where is it now ? Will I ever get back the Mumbai that lives I my dreams?".