Social media an unappreciated source of good

Like most of the UK population I have been glued to a screen for the last 24 hours. BBC News in the back ground whilst my computer whirls into overdrive with several different twitter searches, live blogs and news sites all updating all at once. (My ability to multi task really comes into its own during a crisis).

Throughout a night of mass unrest a question was regularly posed, how are these seemingly random groups organising themselves. The traditional media (television news) pointed the finger quickly at the evil world of social media namely Twitter. Surely this instant method of communication means that nasty people can organise themselves to loot and riot?

In the aftermath of the night of madness you would think that Twitter would slow down, why would people still be talking if they aren’t reporting on where the riot is currently taken place? It appears when the sun comes back up the rioters go to bed and the world of doing good wakes up.

Here are two examples of how social media is currently doing work for good in reaction to what happened on the streets of London last night. They are unlikely to get the media coverage and praise they deserve but they are still doing it anyway.

@Riotcleanup is a Twitter account set up at 3am on the morning of the riots. Within 8 hours it has gained 49,000 followers and has organised groups of local residents to walk around the streets with bin bags and brooms offering to help pick up rubbish for people effected by the rioting and looting. Find out more at the Riot Clean Up website

Over 300 people arrived in Clapham to help clean up thanks to @Riotcleanup

@The_Multiman is the Twitter account of Sean Goldsmith a handyman based in London and Surrey. Sean tweeted ‘#riotcleanup We are multi-skilled and are happy to donate any spare time we have to helping you get back on your feet’ this has led in an hour for him to become a UK trending topic, bringing together tradesmen around the capital to volunteer their time to help fix the damage from the night before.

These are just two of the many examples I have come across in the past few hours of individuals and spontaneous organisations bringing people together through the power of social media to help and make the world a better place. So next time you hear someone talk about how social media is helping naughty boys and girls terrorise the streets remember there is plenty of social good being done you just need to look.

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