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Social media rises to the occasion

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CONNECTING: People warned friends of traffic blocks, police canings and areas cordoned off, in Bangalore on Wednesday.
CONNECTING: People warned friends of traffic blocks, police canings and areas cordoned off, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Deepa Kurup

Blogosphere doubles as information source for netizens

BANGALORE: Has social media or the much-talked-about internet phenomena of crowdsourcing arrived in India? It, perhaps, has, if one were to go by the considerable response to actor Vishnuvardhan’s demise, and the fact that for many the micro-blogging site Twitter doubled as an information source about traffic blocks and rioting across the city.

With Vishnuvardhan, SouthBangalore or rioting as keywords, Twitter saw a steady inflow of messages from tweeple — or Twitter users — from across the city. While many expressed their condolences, others chose to tweet about their favourite Vishnuvardhan film.

Blogs and communities on social networking sites too witnessed a flurry of activity with people writing short obituaries.

However, the majority of messages discussed the trouble on the streets that followed after word of the actor’s death got around. People stuck in traffic chose to warn their friends — or followers, in Twitter parlance — of traffic blocks, police canings and areas cordoned off.

With scores tweeting details of the convoy route, the location of the cremation ground and even cinema shows that were cancelled, Twitter was indeed a repository of information.

“Is vandalising public property any way to express grief?” asked many appalled netizens, even as tweetpics of damaged property and mob agitation did the rounds. Some even offered tips such as displaying pictures of the late actor on car windshields as a ticket to safe travel.

Cellphone operators were quick to cash in on the sentiment. By evening, some of them began to offer Vishnuvardhan ringtones, caller tunes and flood SMS inboxes with offers or discounted downloading rates.

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