British use social media to coordinate riot cleanup


The riots sweeping across England as the result of the police shooting of Tottenham resident Mark Duggan last Thursday have left hundreds of people injured and countless businesses looted and burned. It remains to be seen whether the unrest is nearing an end, or just beginning, but despite the uncertainty, Londoners are taking charge and using social media to organize the cleanup.

The @Riotcleanup Twitter page, one of the first to appear, has almost 70,000 followers tweeting the locations of cleanup efforts and other pertinent information. The London Cleanup Facebook page has 11,211 likes, and its wall is covered with not only messages from locals organizing cleanup efforts, but also from people around the world offering messages of support and encouragement. A programmer from rural Shropshire, unable to get to London to help, set up the website Community — Make it Count to offer another way for people to connect and find cleanup efforts near them.

Social media is emerging as an excellent tool for grass-roots organizing, both for cleanup efforts after natural and man-made disasters and for the political and social movements that shape our world. The immediacy and easy access make Twitter and Facebook the perfect vehicles for outreach to people who might otherwise be unable to connect.

[Image credit: @thisisjikay]


Post by Katherine Gray

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