Mumbai terror tragedy: Web beats CNN?

In Thursday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India; and gives thanks that he's not there...

John Ribeiro has an IT angle:

Burning hotel (source: AFP)
Terrorist attacks late Wednesday in Mumbai are unlikely to make multinational technology companies change their strategies for India. The attack in Mumbai is the latest in a string of terrorist attacks across the country, including a number of attacks earlier in Mumbai.

The attacks late Wednesday by terrorists using guns and grenades in Mumbai did however appear different than previous ones, because it targeted top five-star hotels in Mumbai's business district. About 100 are feared dead.
A large number of technology companies including Oracle, Microsoft, and Dell run large software development and call center operations in India. But ever since the threat of terrorism increased since last year, these companies have tightened on security at their facilities.

Om Malik is depressed:

Another terrorist attack in India, this time in India’s financial & entertainment capital, Mumbai (Bombay.) I have been following this for a while on Twitter, where people from the city are reporting whatever updates they can get. It is a depressing start to a Thanksgiving weekend here in the U.S.
I am just shocked at the sheer magnitude of the attack, which ... saw terrorists attacking various locations, including busy train station, hotels and hospitals. The shootouts saw some senior cops killed in the line of duty, and the Army has been called in. The shock is so extreme that I am incapable of anger.

Michael Arrington watches the "news 2.0":

Forget CNN ... People are giving first hand reports of what they’re seeing directly on Twitter. Flickr is another important information resources - images are here.

Twitter isn’t the place for solid facts yet - the situation is way too disorganized. But it’s where the news is breaking. GroundReport is doing a good job of aggregating citizen reports. Both Wikipedia and Mahalo have constantly updated pages with known facts.

But Tom calls that sort of talk, "ridiculous":

How can you say something like that? The facts are the news. Nothing else is relevant. In fact, the noise that twitter generates in situations like these is downright cruel and dangerous.
It really makes me angry. What you have here are people who simply don’t care if they get the news right. They’re turning the most dire of situations into entertainment by using Twitter to “be involved in the story.” They throw their little tweets out not caring who they scare half to death and then brag about how great Twitter is for “beating the mainstream media at reporting the news.”

So, Mathew Ingram offers this defense:

We’ve seen this kind of thing before, of course — during earthquakes in China, as well as forest fires in California, and so on. But some people still refuse to acknowledge that what Twitter is doing is effectively journalism.
I don’t want to make light of Tom’s point. It’s true that messages posted to Twitter aren’t verified in any sense of the word, and in many cases could be wrong, or could perpetuate misunderstandings or factual inaccuracies ... however, I think he’s blaming Twitter for something that occurs during every similar news event: in other words, unverified eyewitness reports.

Every time there is a bombing or an earthquake or a tsunami, there are reports — many of which appear on television and other “traditional” media outlets — that turn out to be completely wrong ... chaotic situations result in poor information flow — even to the “professional” journalists who are working at the scene.

And Alan Patrick offers a Third Way:

So, a terrorist attack hits Mumbai ... causing mayhem ... anguish and fear.

But what do the social media techies crow about - why, that the news got through on Twitter first of course! Hooray. We beat the silly old Mainstream media. Noone knows the ins and outs, the whys and wherefores of course - that boring stuff we leave to MSM reporters - but we wonz coz we wuz firzt!
Twitter will tell you something is up, but soon after that it gets swamped by noise and then people jumping on for their own ends ... fortunately the BBC is on Twitter too!

Meanwhile, Nitin Karandikar uplifts:

"The purpose of terrorism," Vladimir Lenin once said, "is to terrorize." Perhaps, but I think that these terrorists have underestimated the resilience of spirit of the people of Mumbai. In the same vein as New Yorkers, the Mumbaikars will survive this brutal act of terrorism and eventually emerge the stronger for it.

Terrorism has become a scourge worldwide, but in the end, it cannot succeed; by simply going on with their daily lives, the regular folks - unsung heroes all - will eventually prevail.

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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