Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't blame social media for unrest

I live in Ealing in West London, where some of the riots took place the other night. I spent a lot of time listening to police sirens & helicopters overhead and throughout the disturbances I followed the news online (via the BBC) and on Twitter & Facebook.

In the last few days a lot of things have been cited as the cause of these riots, however one constant theme mentioned by Newspapers, TV & Radio channels is that "Social Media is allowing people to riot".


Quite frankly, this topic is a pathetic attempt to create headlines that are nonsense. Riots have existed before social media, and before TV and other channels. Note: I've yet to check if there was 'technically' a riot before the invention of the printing press... but you get my drift.


Social Media, just like the telephone and every other method of communication we have is not the cause of social unrest.... it is merely a facilitator, the channel via which people now interact with each other. Blaming it is like blaming the air for transmitting an influenza virus.

And just like air, Social Media has become just another thing we now take for granted in our modern lives. However there have been calls by some political leaders to shut down various social media (most popularly Blackberry Messenger / BBM because it is far less traceable). But as several overthrown rulers of several North African countries will testify.... trying to shut these sources down really didn't help matters....
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