The Mumbai Blasts and Social Media

 The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack generated a LOT of interest in the media – internationally and at home. I have been a super-heavy Twitter user and right from the time I got a call about the first blast I have been reporting what I have heard and seen outside my window and what others have been reporting. 
For the first time, I have noticed first hand how the media creates hype by playing terrorist clips on loop and how information travels so much faster in this day and age. While I was using Twitter I had an advantage of at least over 15 mins over the traditional media channels. Another thing I noticed was that a lot of information on Twitter was relevant and useful (e.g. emergency numbers, etc.) and a lot of info on the news channels was sensationalist.

When I was tweeting and re-tweeting all this information, Mahesh Murthy, the founder of Pinstorm called (disclaimer: I work with Pinstorm). His opinion was that though all this information was being sent out via twitter, there weren’t a lot of people receiving it since Twitter is not main-stream in India just yet. He also generously agreed to host a page on a Pinstorm sub-domain. My sincere thanks to him!

The page, with all its content was up within three hours and we soon started promoting it exclusively on Twitter and FriendFeed. Our task with the page was to keep updating it with more and more relevant info. Netra called each and every number to verify if it was working and to ask for the contact person’s name there. This was then updated on the page and on Twitter. This is not a post which will discuss page views, etc. but I must tell you that the response was phenomenal.

Dina Mehta was also brilliant at She was actually able to acquire a scanned list of injured/dead from all the hospitals in Mumbai and transcribed all the 5 pages (with help from volunteers) in quick time. These lists help the embassies around the world coordinate their efforts from their side.

Even before 26/11, I always knew that Social Media was going to be HUGE in India. Have you ever looked at the #cricket hastag when the Indians are playing a cricket match? Or the conversations that follow on FaceBook from something posted on Twitter? Its all there… And it’s all happening NOW.

I was also amazed to see that traditional media was watching what we were writing on Twitter and FaceBook. I know this because I have spoken to so many international foreign agencies… SkyB (London), ABCNews Radio (Australia), CBS (Beijing), Al-Jazira (KSA), CNN International (USA), and Wall Street Journal (USA). Its heartening to note that the guys there are using cutting edge technology too.

The one positive that I see from the attention that Twitter has received recently is that the Media will start taking it more seriously. We now have @DNAindia start services and I also know of a few other Indian companies that monitor and engage in conversations on Twitter and the other social media sites. I sincerely hope that the use of FaceBook events and FriendFeed conversations become more and more mainstream in India.

God bless you all!


  1. Congratulations!! Great post and as I was following everything “live” I can tell your tweets were really sensible, useful initiatives, etc…
    Proud to have you as a friend!! =)
    Greetings from Rio de Janeiro!

  2. The estimate of intelligence agencies here is derived from the scale of the attack, as well as precise information about the Lashkar’s sleeper cells that have proliferated in Maharashtra.Interpol has detained Rahil Sheikh, an accused in the July 2006 Mumbai train blasts.


Leave a Comment