“We are resilient by force, not by choice.”

14 Jul

Those were not just three blasts.
hey asked us this question.

We will keep killing you this way, what the hell are you gonna go?

They asked us this on a Friday – repeated it on a Tuesday – and yet again on a Wednesday. I feel the need to reply, we all should feel the need to reply someday.

We are resilient by force, not by choice.

How can we use social media to organize help when a terrorists attack or natural disaster strikes?

By exercising restraint.
During terrorist attacks and natural disasters, communication lines often get flooded by information. Social media sites like Twitter are particularly affected. During times of heavy traffic, it is not uncommon for Twitter to start lagging and sometimes through up the Fail Whale (I saw this a few times yesterday).

A few things one can do during such times:

  • Follow your stream and find out who is coordinating relief effort and curating information in your feed. During such events, there usually are a few people who do this. For instance, in Mumbai (I use this example since this is the most recent, as of this answer), you should look out for folks like Netra Parikh[1], Moksh Juneja[2], Annagh Desai[3], even me.
  • You can post your information directly to them, if you wish. Post the traffic weather and traffic conditions in your area. Update as the situation changes. Egs: [4], [5] If you are able to offer food, shelter or first aid, say as much. Some people will not be able to get home, even if they are not close to the terrorist attack. This is amplified when the public transport system itself is attacked (like during the train bombings). Post a phone number so people can get in touch with you from the street- if phone lines are working. Post a good enough address so people can reach your place.
  • If you are able to provide any other kind of help, say so. Hash-tags for such things usually emerge so that people can follow coordinate between each other- yesterday, the hashtag was #here2help.
  • If you are able to get out and help, hands-on, post a tweet about your willingness. Mind your own safety and security first, though- you aren’t very useful if you’re dead.
  • If you are able to provide a ride (public transport and taxi/rickshaw services are usually affected), post the time you’ll be traveling, the origin and the destination as early as possible.
  • Don’t post things aren’t are not immediately useful. Don’t post opinion, condolences or outrage during the first few hours. This clogs up the stream and makes it very hard for people to find useful information. Bandwidth is precious at this time. Post this after the immediacy of the situation is addressed.
  • If you have a rare blood type and are able to donate, please donate at your nearest hospital or blood bank (they can transfer blood from one venue to another). If you don’t see an immediate need, register at BloodAid[6] and they will contact you.
  • Post the names, phone numbers and directions of hospitals near the terrorist attack sites. Police and other emergency control room phone numbers are also welcome. Verify them, please. Egs: [7], [8]


– Kunj Karia

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


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