Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

The #LondonRiots: The Demonization Of Social Media

Posted on: August 9, 2011

This was a subject I just couldn’t avoid writing about so the moment I had 30 minutes (on a train would you believe) I gave it a bash. My girlfriend lives perilously close to Ealing, I have friends that live in Camden, Croydon and Enfield so it holds personal salience and particular grievance. I am a proud Englishman and to have such disgusting images ofEngland distributed worldwide embarrasses me to the point where I am close to yakking into my Starbucks mug.

Do you know what pisses me off even more though? In the press over the last couple of days they have demonized the role of social media in mobilizing rioters and helping them conduct their repulsive actions. I tell my mum all the time (as an FYI, she is very much anti-Facebook/anti-Twitter etc.) that technology is morally neutral. BBM may have been the tool of choice but it would not have stopped theLondonlouts looting. These riots would have probably ended the same without social media. For decades we have been able to communicate on a large scale via telephones, SMS, email, forums and more simply community meetings and dare I say it, even smoke signals.

The reason why BBM has replaced SMS is because (From the Guardian): ‘it is free, instant and more part of a much larger community than regular SMS.’ It is not ‘text messaging with steroids’ as described by doughnut brain Mike Butcher, a so called technology journalist as well as digital adviser to Boris Johnson. For arguments sake and because this is my blog, we’ll refer to him as douchebag. This guy is meant to be a technology journalist and thus, a technology advocate. It would be like me rubbishing SEO services and online marketing generally. He also claimed to be shocked that the BBM service wasn’t shut down. What next douchebag: Facebook? Twitter? Vodafone? The Internet?

His next publication is expected to be titled something like this: I blame oil companies for the nations traffic jams.

Douchebag.

But after a weekend and a bit of London riots, thousands of Londoners and worldwide supporters have taken to social networks (Facebook, Twitter) to help reclaim the streets of London back to their former glory.

Already there is a dedicated Facebook page aimed at helping people looking to volunteer with the riot clean-up. Here it is: www.facebook.com/londoncleanup

Then there is the Twitter handle: @riotcleanup

There is of course the official unofficial website: http://www.riotcleanup.co.uk/Riot_Clean_Up.html

Looking beyond the #riotcleanup, another attempt to catch and prosecute the Londonlooters has taken form by the creation of Tumblr account Catch A Looter by posting photographs of looters for identification.

This is proof of the positive energy emanating across the social web. As Londoners unite and band together to prove the constructive powers of social media I look forward to reading more examples of PEOPLE POWER!

P.S. If Mr. Mark Butcher was to stumble across this blog, no harm is intended and I would be more than willing to listen to your side of the story 🙂

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4 Responses to "The #LondonRiots: The Demonization Of Social Media"

[…] The #LondonRiots: The Demonization Of Social Media (stevengradidge.com) […]

Hahahhaa. I’m not too bright today. Great post!

[…] of social media sites and other such communication portals during civil unrest in the wake of the UK riots. The very suggestion highlights the Government’s complete lack of understanding of social media […]

[…] of social media sites and other such communication portals during civil unrest in the wake of the UK riots. The very suggestion highlights the Government’s complete lack of understanding of social media […]

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