Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Top Story: Twitter provides latest news on Bangkok political violence

This week I investigated the role of Twitter in breaking news about the Bangkok street violence. The article appeared in my NY Destinations column and generated strong Google traffic. It is now my best read story to date on!

Thank you to all of the dedicated journalists, bloggers and everyday folks who have been tweeting the latest political developments from Thailand. Their first-person accounts and photos, many taken from mobile phones, have provided minute by minute coverage of this news event.

Twitter provides latest news on Bangkok political violence (photos)

by Leslie Koch
Originally published in the NY Destinations column on, May 19, 2010

Photo: An anti-government protester piles tires on a fire at the Central World shopping center in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Tourists and expats in Bangkok turned to Twitter on Wednesday for the latest news on clashes between the Thai army and political protesters.

English-speakers used their smart phones and laptops to access Twitter and find out which streets were safe from the violence.

A simple search for #Bangkok provided a steady stream of tweets on Wednesday.

Many tweets were first-hand accounts posted by journalists, expats and other Bangkok residents.

"For foreigners living or visiting Thailand and who don't understand the language, Twitter was a life-line for them during the protests and the sometimes violent clashes between the red shirts and the Thai army," said expat Richard Barrow in a website post.

"...Some people say that Twitter comes into its own during revolutions and natural disasters. And they are probably right. Twitter was perfect for both reporting and receiving the news about the Red Shirt protests.”

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