The Social Media Riots

If you ever doubted the power of social media in today’s world, the organised riots in Birmingham yesterday and throughout the night was proof of just how much power it contains, the vast amount of usership it has as well as on the negative side how much harm it can contribute towards, as in yesterdays case the possible escalation of the riots not only in Birmingham City centre, but elsewhere around the country such as Liverpool and Bristol and the wider London area.


Of course it’s silly to blame social media for the reason for riots; the point being made here is that fact of the power of social media as a communication tool.


As reported in the news and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter see’s statuses and tweets highlighting what people are actively doing to participate within the riots personally and / or to help orchestrate and organise targets to be rioted and looted – knowingly or otherwise.


The reason for saying “knowingly or otherwise” is because it was clear from looking online as well as seeing the news, that people who had nothing to do with the riots, would be commenting on people’s statuses or re-tweet messages helping to provide miss information, and / or provide next target ideas of who and where to hit next.


Also by looking online and at the news it was clear that many people taking part in the riots either had a total disregard for normality or authority - call it what you will, instead opting for social media sensationalism to either have their picture or video taken of their actions for glorification throughout the internet.  


Not wishing or intending to devalue or dilute what’s happened or the reverse of giving such mindless actions any limelight - but in order to keep things in line with what Connect WM is about, helping to connect businesses and consumers throughout the West Midlands. We suggest that comparative thought should be given as to how local businesses are seen or perceived through social media, is the true message of what you think you’re saying the actual message of what others are hearing.


It was seemingly clear last night that the comments and messages being posted contributed towards the prolonging of the riots into the early hours. Could it be at all possible that the messages from you, and / or others about your business contribute towards any prolonged struggle or downturn in business – a bit harsh we know, but often its events that shock which make us all reflect and take stock?


On the flip side, the dawn of a new day has seen social media start to contribute towards positive rally calls to help and restore order to local businesses, calling on followers, fans, friends and family to help clean up rioted areas to restore normality to local areas quickly.


Some areas within Birmingham such as Handsworth has already seen some roads cleaned, burnt cars cleared along with broken glass, damaged bins and bus stops.


Perhaps through social media you feel your business provides positive messages, but do such positive messages see any positive action or result, physical or otherwise? Or is the message you say something for your own personal satisfaction.


Whatever the reason, the need or purpose you have for the use of social media, we suggest that now is as good a time as any for you to take stock of both the harm and good the use of it can do for your business, and even you as an individual.


In reality it’s hard for you to have full control as to how your business views within social media, which is why you need to be careful as to who your friends, connections, and followers are.


Ask yourselves that if any of the looters who have been caught in action either by photograph or otherwise are then found to be a friend, connection or follower of you…..could that affect your business?? Or even worse, a reflection of you and the circles you mix in!


Is anyone here one of your social media fans, followers, or friends? Or even worse a member of your family.