Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp proved a boon today for several stranded commuters, helping them get real-time traffic and train updates, and instant car-pooling offers to reach their destinations in the wake of torrential rains in the city.
Normal life in the country's financial capital came to a grinding halt today as the downpour wreaked havoc in the city and its suburbs leading to cancellation of local train services that left thousands of commuters stranded.
Messages on the situation started pouring in right from the morning, with updates on the impact of the rains overnight.
Local suburban railway trains, the lifeline of the city, which ferries over 65 lakh people a day, came to a halt and has not yet resumed.
A couple clicks selfie on a water logged road after heavy rains in Mumbai on Friday. Pic/PTI
More people started taking to the streets due to this, with many even thronging the beaches to enjoy the rains and get wet, aggravating the woes on the road, causing traffic snarls.
This triggered a slew of activity online and within no time, hashtags like #mumbairains started trending on the micro-blogging website Twitter.
Those who did not tweet, updated their friends over WhatsApp, which has the ability to form closed-user groups.
With "train-friend" being a very unique peculiarity for the city-dwellers, such messages of advice and caution soon started flooding dedicated groups of such friends.
Scenes of flooded tracks, overflowing platforms and railway indicators struggling were shared over applications like Facebook and Instagram by netizens.
However, the city lived up to its reputation for its warmth and camaraderie, with instant offers for car-pooling and help coming through social media as well as offline.
Pankaj Gupta tweeted offering a pick-up for anybody from Powai to Mahape in Navi Mumbai, where he was travelling. Similarly, Zubin Nallawala offered a lift to anyone travelling from Worli in central Mumbai to Fort.
Unlike the deluge of July 2006, which had seen telecom services shut down completely, the voice and data networks remained unaffected today, leading to a very active usage of such online media tools.
Social media engagement was not limited to individuals alone, and utilities like Central Railway also made best use of the medium to reach to the public.
The Central Railway twitter handle was among the most active ones, sending out updates on train movements and re-scheduling of long distance services.
The Mumbai Metro, which was among the few modes of transport which continued operations, also used Twitter to send out much needed messages.
As the day wore on, the same media were used artfully to send out humorous messages about the monsoon.
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