I know this isn't a new topic to those who frequent the blogosphere, but it really is incredible how social networking, including blogs, texts, and applications like twitter, have influenced the way news spreads.
I was surprised to see a sharp jump in readers on my personal blog today until I learned I had been linked by World Focus, a news agency devoted to covering international events, in their article about the PAD protests in Bangkok. This makes me feel both excited and, well, a little queasy--- how can what I have to say be news? Right? I always try to be clear about my sources and biases in regards to information I post on here and hope that any readers take my posts with a grain of salt and consult other sources for whatever they are researching. I'm also glad if I can help spread information about life in Thailand or any of the other topics I have written about here and on my other blogs.
It's good to be reminded about my responsibility when I am putting things on the web for anyone and everyone to read. This CNN article, about the effects of twittering during the current Mumbai terror crisis, explored how individuals giving blow by blow accounts of the events as they unfold can be a terrific source of information--- and misinformation, which is then recycled endlessly as word spreads and rumors fly.
This TED Talk, by James Surowiecki, highlights the positive points of social media as news specifically in the context of the 2005 Tsunami. As in 2005, social media today in Mumbai is allowing normal citizens to participate in providing information to authorities and the public and also helping provide other much needed services such as making phone calls for people whose families may have been affected.
Benjamin Haydon, an 18th century artist and writer said, "There surely is in human nature an inherent propensity to extract all the good out of all the evil."
If this is true, one good thing we can extract from the horror of what is unfolding in India today is the evidence of good people who are doing everything they can to personally help those who are in need due to this tragedy.