Carlton Hotels Fire (incomplete)

First the facts. 9 people died when there was an electrical fault at the carlton hotel. 9 people died. One from the smokee, 8 people who jumped to their deaths.

Lets pause and think of that. Not about how they died, thats the topic of a more cynical post, but about BEING in a situation like that.

Imagine being in this situation –

Carlton Towers is burning and six of us are trapped inside. The fire’s above but there’s smoke everywhere. Saw people jump to their death

There’s no media sensationalism, no shouting voices, no gaping onlookers.

Just you.

In a burning building.

@jackerhack was there. And 140 characters later, we were there with him. At a visceral, basic, animalistic level, we KNEW what may be going on in his head.

Because it wasn’t filtered. it wasn’t manufactured. it was… Real.

I’m not going to harp on the story – it makes more sense to read about it in His words than mine. I just want to take a look at another facet.

What happened, with that one post, and then the “media frenzy”…It got me thinking. It got me really thinking again from the information percolation vs culture industry argument thats raging on in its many avtaars.

As previously posted the data tells us something simple. Twitter in india has 60 thousand current REGULAR users.Facebook has 1.2 MILLION REGULAR users. Twenty times the amount.

But then, why how does “india” not get its  information from facebook, but from twitter?

So here are some obvious reasons

–   Facebook is also  an inward looking archive-you can be active on facebook, but still, not talkative. Twitter is nothing but broadcast. Nothing but.

– because it is only broadcast, you only get into twitter if you’re “into” broadcasting, and the experience is only good if you’re continuously tweeting (ish)

– to be continuously tweeting you a) must want to and b) be “technically skilled” enough to be able to continuously tweet (c) have a level of “connection” that facilitates continues tweeting… this implies a certain SEC…

These 60,000 people, are hence, by definition,  a very very select group. THey are what i call, india’s “top 60000 communicators”. THese communicators are india’s new “culturatti” the new “influencers”. Outside the twitter-verse, any one one of them would be the most outspoken person in his group, the “go-to” guy for opinion and information. No matter which the group – a group of friends, musicians, politicians, coders… no matter what the group, these 60k are the most outspoken, and they are most likely to be placing their opinion out there -these 60K are most likely to be have the largest proportion of “bloggers” from any group, i am sure

So you have these “golden group”, spread across the country, broadcasting… and then this happens. Imagine communicating with the world through a fire. THere must have been 10 fires in india that day. Perhaps 1000 people must have died in an accident that day – why was the carlton towers “fire” which in @jackerhacks  own estimate was not a very big deal, on the covers of the toi, on all the channels, at prime time?

Simple. because of 140 characters, suddenly, you were there. Without any filter.

I want to approach my questions towards @ in a different manner. No questions about fire. More about his take on information.

1. Have you ever “received” critical information of the sort you transmitted through any kind of p2p network?

2. what is your take on twitter? is it all sound and fury, or is there method to its madness?

3. Whats your take on mainstream media’s fascination with twitter?

4. What does YOUR group come to you for your opinions on?

5. Who are your “got to sources” on the web? (fave blogs, sights, people to follow)

Glad you and your loved ones made it out there safe and sound.

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About Tarun

Joker, smoker, midnight toker. Teacher, writer, general gadabout
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3 Responses to Carlton Hotels Fire (incomplete)

  1. harsht says:

    Tarun agree with you about these 60,000 being a select group of top communicators. For twitter to be an effective broadcast tool – many more should be following these 60,000 and that is precisely makes twiter much more powerful than facebook – as the ties are directed but not necessarily reciprocal

  2. t says:

    sorry but your theories are quite flawed.
    “Outside the twitter-verse, any one one of them would be the most outspoken person in his group, the “go-to” guy for opinion and information. No matter which the group – a group of friends, musicians, politicians, coders… no matter what the group,”

    several examples in research point to the fact that people who spend most of their time networking and interacting in the virtual world are likely loners and highly socially withdrawn in the real world. there are a lot of well-informed, opinionated people out there who do not think its necessary to broadcast their thoughts/opinions, mundane, unique, or otherwise. A lot of them don’t even know what twitter is, and thats ok, because they’re missing out only on a small world consisting of 60k people.

    • Tarun says:

      thanks for your input t.

      1. Would love to look at the research you’re talking about. All the sources i see seem to suggest that as you are offline, so you are online ie. the more greagarious you are offline/ the more outgoing, the more involved your social network usage/no of riends/amount of posts will be (given that you use social networks)

      2. I don’t agree that “there are a lot of well-informed, opinionated people out there who do not think its necessary to broadcast their thoughts/opinions, mundane, unique, or otherwise”. I think they DO broadcast themselves, al the time. they’re just not comfortable using THIS tool.

      3. I agree that twitter has only 60K regular users in india – isn’t it funny then how much importance mainstream media gives them? i’m trying to understand WHY

      would love to hear mor from you

      Tarun

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