How Tweeting Thai Taxi Driver Scooped World Media

His mode of transport is one of Bangkok’s most basic – the motorbike. But it is Dejchat Phuangket’s command of cutting edge technology that has turned him into Thailand’s most famous taxi driver.

Tweeting taxi driver Dejchat Phuangket demonstrates the power of social media and citizen journalism after having tweeted and blogged about a recent bombing in Thailand. Local city website Coconuts Bangkok was first to write about Dejchat's story, further emphasizing the power of grassroots journalism in such local-focused incidents.

For two years, Dejchat tweeted and blogged about his daily life.

Whether it be the contents of his lunch or the state of the traffic, his wry observations and a steady stream of photos kept his small band of loyal followers amused.

Then on Valentines Day the news came to Dejchat’s part of central Bangkok.

An explosion partially destroyed a house being rented by a group of Iranians.

As the men fled the damaged building they threw explosives at a taxi and one of the men had his legs blown off. Almost immediately the blasts were linked to attempted attacks the day before on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India.

As news of the explosions began to circulate, Dejchat was already on the scene.

“A foreigner was carrying a bag and an explosion happened,” he tweeted under his username motorcyrubjang. “He lost his legs but is still alive at Sukhumvit 71.”

Pictures and more updates soon followed as Dejchat uploaded photos of the damaged taxi and photos of the man with his legs blown off directly to Twitter. Across Bangkok his sometimes gory images were the first visual confirmation of what was just beginning to be reported.

Local celebrity

Dejchat’s updates were quickly retweeted widely, even attracting the attention of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (PouYingluck).

The next day Dejchat’s scoop had quadrupled his number of Twitter followers and turned him into a local celebrity.

Read more at BBC News. Photo credit: Coconuts Bangkok.