Trying to make a connection between social media and the riots in London is like trying to blame the imfamous US Democratic Party riot back in the sixties on the park where people massed. Social media is a conduit which connects people and that is all.
Take for example the Arab spring, social media didn’t create the anger and frustration, but it did connect (instantly showing people they were not alone) and amplify their voices and allow them to circumvent government censorship of public communication channels. In that specific case, it was a very effective tool for change. Sadly, it can also be used as a tool for destruction and terror as we know too well. A hammer can be used to build a house or bash someone’s brains in if the will is strong enough to use it in such a deplorable way.
Pointing a finger at social media is at best, taking the easy way out and at worse, a smoke screen to obscure the real issues at hand.
While the power which derives from its speed and reach may scare the hell out of some, it’s the people using social media for good or bad which dictate results. In the case of socail media, one shouldn’t fear the tool, but the conditions which create such deplorable and destructive actions. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting these rioters are anything other than mob thugs.
It’s not social media itself which some people find threatening, but the thought that the “great unwashed” may actually use it against them.
Agendas abound when it comes to social media in all its forms. Those pointing fingers at social may be ignorant, but just as likely have a vested interest in blaming the despicable actions of thugs on the technology, rather than taking a good hard look at the causes behind the riots. And again, I am by no means suggesting that what these miscreants have done is justifiable, I am simply saying that we should be taking a good long look at why something happens as much as how.
Social media has also helped people voice their distaste for the actions of a few idiots and criminals, helped people organize to stand up for their communities and clean up their city and reminded us that these horrendous scenes coming out of the UK are not acceptable to or indicative of the majority.
Social media does not control us. Social media reflects us.
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