Monday, August 08, 2011
Social media and the riots (but not the rioters)

The news is spending a lot of airtime on how 'social media' - specifically, and quite astonishingly, BlackBerry Messenger - has been the channel for the London troublemakers to communicate with each other and organise the looting.

But let's remember to keep some perspective here. Social media is also the way that all us non-rioters receive information, make decisions, respond to issues, and communicate with each other during moments of crisis.

The graphic above - a remnant of Cameron's General Election advertising campaign that went unexpectedly viral - is a sharp and direct way for people to share their dissatisfaction at the Prime Minister's delayed decision to return from holiday.

The open letter below sums up how we are all using technology to come to decisions, fuelled by the media, that could have long and damaging effects against the reputation of young people.

With #LondonRiots and #wimpy currently trending on Twitter, Facebook groups springing up, and a plethora of real-time riot maps appearing (see below for Channel 4's heat map of the violence), what social media channels are you using to monitor the trouble?