London Riots: Social Media and Social Journalism

According to the BBC, Twitter is now proving to be an invaluable tool in the clean-up of London after the riots. It just goes to show how entrenched social media has become in our society today. Dan Thompson originally started @riotcleanup  in an attempt to co-ordinate the clean-up efforts of a network of ten people.

This network kept growing and, at last count, it was standing at about seventy thousand people.  Dan Thompson told the BBC that he felt that Twitter was the quickest and easiest way to get the clean-up started after seeing the shocking footage on TV.

Twitter can help people to co-ordinate clean-up attempts and arrange meeting places for those that want to help. The actual details can be hashed out using Tweet Chat. Tweets can also warn the clean-up crews of impending danger and new riots breaking out.

This is not the first time that the power of Twitter has been harnessed in such a large scale manner. It was through updates tweeted that the outside world continued to learn about the situation present in Egypt, even after former President Murburak clamped down and shut off the internet in Egypt itself. It was probably due to Twitter, in a large degree, that Murburak’s government was toppled.

During the initial crises in Lybia, it was reported that Rajesh Ravindran used Twitter to contact the foreign secretary to arrange safe extraction from Lybia.

There are countless other stories that show how Tweeters have used Twitter to disseminate information that has helped them escape social injustice.

It turns out that Twitter and other social media are becoming more and more important in the field of citizen journalism. The applications of Twitter have extended way past the simple social application that was initially envisaged. The applications of Twitter have become more and more far reaching as Tweeters have become more and more sophisticated and at ease with the use of the technology.

It will be interesting to see what the future applications for social media will be – it is certainly a field that is constantly in flux and it seems that it would be difficult to predicate the next evolution in social media applications.

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