If anyone doubted how powerful the internet – and in particular social media site like Twitter – could be, let those doubts be laid to rest now. After the horrific series of riots that swept through London and other cities in England in recent days, a few people started a wave of support for a city clean up by using Twitter.
Various hashtags were seen on the site including #RiotCleanUp and perhaps most memorably #RiotWombles. A veritable army of people turned up in several locations across London, stirred by the call out for assistance on Twitter. What better way could there have been for the people of the neighbourhoods that had been affected to get together and show solidarity against the rioters?
If nothing else it certainly makes you look at social media sites in a completely different way. Yes, there have been incidents where they have been used for bad means. But this shows that when you need help, asking for it on a social media site such as Twitter could be the best way to get it.
Of course the efforts were largely sparked by the news coverage of the riots themselves. These news stories provoked people to start talking about the riots on Twitter, and from there they got motivated to do something about it. But it could have been all talk and no action and it was not. Instead the Riot Wombles took to the streets and got things back to some semblance of normality again. How refreshing.