As everyone expected, the New York Times finally lauded the role of Twitter in facilitating citizen journalism during the terrorists attacks in Mumbai:
At the peak of the violence, more than one message per second with the word “Mumbai” in it was being posted onto Twitter, a short-message service that has evolved from an oddity to a full-fledged news platform in just two years.
Those descriptions and others on Web sites and photo-sharing sites served as a chaotic but critically important link among people across the world — whether they be Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn tracking the fate of a rabbi held hostage at the Nariman House or students in Britain with loved ones back in India or people hanging on every twist and turn in the standoff while visiting relatives for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Times highlights one specific citizen, Harvard Medical student Arun Shanbhag. Here’s where Arun is on the Web:
Our take on Twitter and the attacks is that once again, Twitter proved itself as a site people go to during widely-discussed events and that the company should take advantage of that behaviour by creating branded sites around certain topics — like Twitter did with elections.twitter.com — and funnel users to them through Twitter search.
In a case such as the attacks in Mumbai, Twitter might not sell an ad (though the New York Times does) but it could donate space to the Red Cross and help users help.