It started with a Twitter account, @riotcleanup, to rally volunteers. In a matter of hours it attracted over 8,000 followers; in 6 hours, 24,000 followers; 24 hours, over 86,000 people around the world followed this account to find how a battered and bruised community is coping with the aftermath of the London Riots.
Incredible! Put aside the vilification of technology and the hooligan vandals, here is a positive outcome made possible by this social media phenomenon.
Tweets streamed in by the thousands describing ways in which people can help. Citizen journalism at its finest.
Kaya Burgess a reporter for the London Times began tweeting from Clapham Junction, “Almost everyone getting off the train at Clapham Junction is carrying a broom. #riotcleanup”.
Informative and instant. Moments later, Burgess continued “The clean-up crowds at Clapham Junction amass, awaiting police all-clear.”
The Guardian reported that the ‘crowd’ was in the high thousands. All thanks to social media and the high flying spirits of good men and women. The story can be read here
At around this time, a blog Catch a Looter was launched. It’s main aim? To post photos of alleged thieves and send them off to Crimestoppers.
The message? If social media can be used to organize and rally chaos, it can also be used for good.