Social media was jolted on Thursday night when news broke that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had crashed - or been shot down - in eastern Ukraine.
A huge number of people around the world were getting updates on the tragedy online, especially Thais, and all media also goes online to try to get the latest information.
Hashtag #MH17 was immediately created and automatically used among social media users across the Twitter platform.
Twitter is playing the key role as the main channel people connect to for the latest updates on MH17.
Malaysia Airlines’ (@MAS) first tweet on the crash came at around 10.30pm, with it stated: “Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) tweeted: “I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.”
Updated information via #MH17, such as photographs of the crash and the nationality and names of victims, are rapidly and continuously being posted and shared over social media.
Many media organisations are keeping the audience updated via #MH17.
The way stakeholders use a hashtag is very useful. It helps navigate people so it is easier to follow stories.
The incident resulted in the re-emergence of the hashtag #MH370.
#MH17 has been embedded in messages across all social media platforms – including Facebook and Instagram.
Earlier in the week in Thailand, social media was abuzz with the conflict between champion taekwondo exponent Rungrawee Kurasa and Thailand’s national coach Choi Young-seok.
The hashtag #findupinandpichat was also a big topic. When British siblings Emily and Ben Willgrass posted a message on Facebook in their search for a man and woman who helped them during the devastating 2004 tsunami, less than 24 hours later, their request drew the answer they sought.
The siblings will be reunited with Yupin and Pichet when they arrive in Phuket tomorrow.
This is the beauty of social media and shows how the hashtag plays a key role as a channel for keeping people in touch with news and with no boundaries.