How tweeting Thai taxi driver scooped world media

Dejchat's local news twitter updates have turned him into a celebrity

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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.

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."

Start Quote

Maybe I'm famous on the internet but if you ask people around here they probably don't know who I am”

End Quote Dejchat Phuangchet Tweeting taximan

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.

His picture was in the newspapers and he appeared on local news channels.

"I don't think I'm famous but on the internet if I search for my name I see lots of people have written about me," he says at his taxi stop near Phra Khanong station.

As one of the Iranians fled he threw an explosive at a taxi Dejchat tweeted his pictures of the 14 February incident, like this one of the damaged taxi

"So maybe I'm famous on the internet but if you ask people around here they probably don't know who I am."

Dejchat's fellow motorbike taxis have watched the soaring media profile of their colleague with bemusement.

"He taught me how to do the internet and I did do it once," says one with a smile. "But I couldn't do it again."

Despite his new-found fame Dejchat says he has no intention of giving up his job as a taxi driver, though he says he does feel torn inside when he hears something newsworthy has happened nearby.

"Riding a motorcycle is what I'm good at and I know a lot of routes. And it's easy and free, I have no boss and I enjoy that freedom."

He is now using his increased Twitter profile to advertise his own delivery services along with of course a steady stream of very local news.

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