Social Media –Bringing Communities Together
9 August 2011
Over recent days, we residents of the London suburbs and Kent have witnessed with disbelief and sadness the numerous acts of vandalism and violence in our neighbouring communities.
Whilst such events are not completely unprecedented, we have seen an interesting development in the timely use of social media to keep people informed about trouble hotspots, helpfully confirming rumours/dispelling myths about which remain safe areas and those to avoid. Those on Twitter (www.twitter.com), in particular, have been active in engaging in these useful posts and online community discussions.
Of course, this is not the first time a social media platform such as Twitter has been used to such dramatic effect, in recent times it has raised awareness of poverty-stricken countries, publicised charitable causes and conveyed the death of Osama Bin Laden. Closer to home, local travel information updates, missing persons requests and reuniting lost pets with their owners are all now common place on Twitter, in addition to local events, promotions and offers from local businesses. That’s in addition to a virtual library of ongoing information feeds on topics of interest, including history, politics, science, the arts, business and leisure, depending on what you choose to follow.
Anyone with the outmoded view that Twitter is merely a medium for celebrities and their teenage followers, would be hard-pressed not to appreciate the wide range of relevant, local and national information now available on it.
In these troubled times, the police have harnessed the power of social media in advising the public and business owners on adopting a tactical approach to the current situation, with positive use being made of newly dedicated Twitter hashtags, such as the police’s own #tweetalooter and #catchalooter, to track down and identify rioters for the purpose of criminal justice. Hurrah for us law-abiding citizens!
The morning after the first widespread trouble, a new Twitter hashtag #riotcleanup was established to bring together local communities in the clean up operation, uniting those in need with those willing to help. Not quite Cameron’s Big Community, but perhaps one in which communities choose to engage in conversations on their own terms for the benefit of the greater common good? Take a look for yourself…
Social Media Management
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Social Media Management