Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Mumbai Serial Blasts, The Role of Twitter in helping the victims and The Spirit of Oneness among Mumbaikars

It was so wonderful to see the Mumbaikars helping each other out today, in the wake of the bomb blasts. The first blast happened around 6.30 p.m IST, and at about the same time, I had logged into Facebook and Twitter. At about 7.15 p.m, I had to reload the twitter page as my internet had got disconnected. After the reload, I found that the topic #mumbaiblasts was trending, so I hastily scrambled through it to find out what was wrong. Twitter handles of CNN, NDTV and Times Now reported that there had been three serial blasts. In no time, a new trending topic crept up : #here2help. So I checked it out, and found that scores of people had already come to know about the incident and had tweeted them. I ain't in Mumbai, I'm struck at Thanjavur, a place in Tamil Nadu, a place which a Mumbaikar might not even know! From here, I was helpless, and all I could do was to RT some tweets that I thought might reach someone in need of help.

The point is, this incident is what really made me write this post. The tendency of all the people of Mumbai, their willingness to help people in need, and their unity that they showed in the case of this terror attack. I haven't seen any precedence to this sort of response to such an incident ever, in India. That really impressed me. I would like to share some posts that were marked with the various trending hash tags:

Let's start with those who needed help, these people tweeted with a #needhelp tag or otherwise needed help. Here are some of their tweets :

@RakeshTheKumar: Everybody #here2help from Dadar, join Prathamesh. He needs people to move the blast victims to hospital 9768957812

@sakshijuneja: RT @b50: RT @Nakulsud: Stranded in the rain near Gandhi hospital.. No cabs. Anyone around? Call 9920722186.. going to mahim #needhelp

@mgirotra: @vandanaprasad #needhelp at Parel. Koi hai waha??

@Praneethz_: RT @rahulkatragadda: My friend @kushaldave needs to reach International Airport from Chembur. #NeedHelp (cc: @sidin @venkatananth ) Plss RT.

@ni_nad: RT @Rohneet: RT @tejas_tamhane: Anyone going towards Andheri, can you pick me up from Opera House? #mumbaiblasts #needHelp

@beeayeanoowhy: anyone? RT: @SamuraiSingh: Anyone from inorbit mall Malad heading towards Dindoshi in Goregaon east? I could do with a lift. #needhelp

@blahssome: #NeedHelp (also which area is this in?)RT @Decloned_iTaz: Anyone works at Directi? Please RT #urgent Need to see if my bro is there and safe

@ni_nad: RT @zeylovers My frnd's dad in B'bay cnt contact him. She's nt sure where his off/hotel is His name is Arun Gopal. #needhelp

@venkatananth: RT @RoaringCrab: Not getting cab/rickshaw/bus/train 2 go back home if u can reach chembur I shall host u #mumbaiblasts #needhelp #Here2Help

@nkan25: #needhelp RT"@ghaatidancer: Does anyone know an aakanksha khanna, sister of rishabh khannaTryin to get in touch with her.She was at Dadar

@ikaveri: #mumbaiblasts #needhelp RT @sangvoel Friend stuck in fort. Anyone there? My train isnt moving. People jumping off n walking.”

@ghaatidancer: Just spoken to KEM. B-ve is required. Go to the hospital by 9.30 tomorrow to do your bit. #Here2Help #Mumbaiblasts Pls RT

@BloodAid: B-ve donors needed tomorow after 10 am, KEM Hospital, Parel, #Mumbai contact the hosp. blood bank at 022-24135189/24107421 #blooaid

Now, I would like to mention those people who were ready to help or offered some helpful information. This is a really staggering number, so please bear with me. I was so surprised to see these many people offering help! Here goes:

@KiranKS: #Here2Help for #MumbaiBlasts affected people. RT @MrsSonaL I am near Dadar TT... If anybody need help contact me on 09323324177

@Shikhashikz: RT @gauravsaha: RT @Sengupta: Near Dadar, the closest hospital is Hinduja (near Mahim): 02224452222 #mumbaiblasts

@DreamsCentral: RT @silv3rglee: #Here2Help #MumbaiBlasts RT @alimaxout: Anyone needing help in Jogeshwari area. Sms/call on 7208180539 / 9773510256.

@b50: RT: @oldmonk_says: Going to bandra from colaba.anyone need any help or a ride let me know on 9821555774 #mumbaiblasts #here2help

@puneet86: Seriously, people. Blame Pakistan/terrorists/whoever else you think is responsible later. Go help someone first. #Mumbaiblasts

@KiranKS #Here2Help for #MumbaiBlasts affected people. RT @alimaxout: Anyone needing help in Jogeshwari area. Sms/call on 7208180539/9773510256.

@brijwhiz: #here2help RT @rohanlilani: Anyone stranded in town, and needs a place near Metro/Marine Lines, call me 9503019001 #mumbaiblasts

@ibnlive: Hospitals: KEM (022-24136051), Nair (022-23085379), Harkishandas (23855555 / 30095555), Saifee (22 6757 0111) #MumbaiBlasts

@ikaveri: RT @mokshjuneja Anyone who needs to take a breather in Chembur,welcome to be hosted at my place call me 9322121170 #mumbaiblasts #Here2Help

@jacobrohan: Anyone stuck in Bandra West, feel free to call me @ 9773352262 for a safe place. #mumbaiblasts

@mithunk: If you need any help of any kind you can call me, my office is at Matunga, my number 9920099923, I can email/tweet etc for you #mumbaiblasts

@qtfan: I am a doctor. Text me on nine eight two zero zero two one four nine two, if you need any medical help. Or call JJ Hospital on 022 -23735555

@GaayathriRaj: RT @RanjibMazumder: To hire or rent a car - #MumbaiBlasts #Here2Help

@MihirBijur: Will reach worli in precisely 10 mins. Have place for 3 in the car. Any1 needs a drop anywhere in town? #here2help

@mihirfadnavis: RT @shaaqT RT @_vishalg RT @R113 leaving frm lower parel to andheri east at 930pm by car have place for 3 if needed #mumbaiblasts #here2help

@anuradha_kush: #mumbai #here2help RT @parapraxist: If anyone is stuck in matunga or dadar, i live in a udct hostel and can easily find room. 9619243263.

@ekta06: RT @beeayeanoowhy Anyone stranded in Borivali/Kandivali me on 9768886457. food/acco not a worry #Here2Help #mumbaiblasts

@sacredeastwind: “@maheshmurthy: open to all RT @Pinstorm: Need to stay in Bandra tonight? Ask @Netra for access to our guesthouse #MumbaiBlasts” #Here2help

@KiranKS: #Here2Help for #MumbaiBlasts affected people. RT @neerja15: Anyone stranded at borivli W @Neerja 9820751559 any help

@silv3rglee: #here2help #MumbaiBlasts RT @Joydas Taxi's Might be off the Road Post 12 Midnight. If u need accomodation for the Night, any area, lemme knw

@Amit_Gujargoud: Will reach worli in precisely 10 mins. Have place for 3 in the car. Any1 needs a drop anywhere in town? #here2help RT @MihirBijur

@TulikaP: Anyone need help near Kurla or Chembur reply to my Tweet #here2help please RT

@zainabkakal: Call Binit Vasa 9920123963 if you are stuck near Ruia College/Dadar His office is open and you can stay there #here2help

@confuzzled_19:If anyone needs help in and around Bandra, I'm #here2help

@sureshnakhua: Will reach sion circle in 10 min any1 needs drop till ghatkopar/chandivali/powai/sakinaka/andheri e - pls ctc - space for 1 - #here2help

@Vikasnowal: Anyone needs help in Andheri west, pl buzz me... #here2help #mumbaiblasts

@MeShopoholic: Any1 around Matunga(king's Circle), dadar & sion who can't/wont go back 2 affected areas, u can stay at my place. #MumbaBlasts #here2help

@PeculiarBlend: I'm waiting at the Mira Road Station If you need any help let me know. 98191-81219 Later Be right back. #here2help

@GhoshalUnplug_D: #Here2Help #MumbaiBlasts #NeedHelp I stay 5 mins from Kabootar Khana.. Anyone needs help/food/cab, let me know - 9820233387

@gsurya: Since no taxis, will go downtown past midnight & drive back to Andheri to pick up anyone stranded. 4 seats to fill. #MumbaiBlasts #Here2Help

@drhitesh: #here2help call 9967712807 for any assistance

@ADKStreme: At mahim now call on 99209nineeightfivrzeroeight. #here2help

@TheNiravShah: Anyone needing any help near Opera House / Charni Road I am #Here2Help - +91-9870837970

@poo_sud: +1 RT"@ghaatidancer: My blood group is B- and I know it's quite rare. If anyone needs it, please let me know. #Mumbaiblasts #Here2Help"

@KiranKS: #Here2Help #MumbaiBlasts RT @jayblawgs: In S Bombay, there’s a hostel in Byculla called Seva Niketan. 23092934, 23093025, 23093057, 23093257

I understand that you cannot read each and every entry there. But I couldn't leave out people without giving them credits for what they did. I feel that everyone who tweeted or RTed about the blasts deserves applause.

That's the power of social media. And the people of Mumbai put it to the best possible use. I want them to stand united for any such incidents(which I pray must not happen) to come in the future. My heartiest condolence to everyone who lost their near and dear ones and prayers to their families. Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Madhur Bhandarkar, Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Sonam Kapoor and Anupam Kher condemned the attack on twitter and offered prayers. I think that they put their twitter handles to the best use tonight. My humble request to everyone is to put technology to good use by helping out people whenever/wherever/however possible. Kudos to the residents of Mumbai who have shown the spirit on oneness. If you give a close look on twitter about the topics #needhelp and #here2help, the later had at lease 10x more tweets! Which means, there were more people ready to help, than people who needed help.

P.S: Any personal information in the above post must not be misused. The sole intention of including them in the post was to describe the helping tendency of the people of Mumbai.


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