This article was originally published on Global Voices Online.
Twitter is the new blogging, or so the story goes. Never has that been more apparent than in times of crisis: During the Mumbai attacks, Twitter users provided up-to-the-minute coverage, and today, as Israeli airstrikes continue to hit Gaza, the Twittersphere is deep in discussion.
Twitter users utilize hashtags to aggregate their content; users can then go to Twitter Search and look for content on a particular subject. In this case, the most utilized hashtag is #gaza, while #gazawarofwords is tracking media bias. A search for other hashtags being used to discuss Gaza brings up #israel, #syria, #baghdad, #2states, and #rafah, among others. Users also "re-tweet" information from other users in an effort to disseminate it quickly; an example:
Since that point, the world has been engaged in sometimes healthy debate, other times expressing rage, and most importantly, reporting news; the following example includes participants from Palestine, Mauritania, and San Francisco (US):
The nature of the discussion provokes heated questions and arguments. skinner, from Oxford, UK via Amman, Jordan, asks:
Another fascinating feature of the Twitter discussion is the analysis of media coverage. #gazawarofwords, a hashtag started by Twitter user weddady, provides a central point of aggregation for such reporting: