The hot topic of the week has been covered extensively on The Conversation and the mainstream media... the English riots. This Roundup aims to reconcile two polarised camps debating the role of social and mobile media.
First up, a statement from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons yesterday: "... we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality." Conversationalist Mark Pack asks whether it is simply a question of politicians and pundits always trying to ban technologies they don't use.
I think the question has been poorly phrased when it takes the form... Were these riots caused by Twitter / Blackberry messenger / Facebook? No of course they weren't. Riots long preceded the rise of such media. But what if the question was rephrased... How was the character of these riots altered by the availability of such media?
The primary message coming out of The Conversation this week (see below) is that you can't blame social media or society's enthusiastic adoption of it. Yet this belies or at least underplays its influence in my opinion. I would never resort to such tabloid misrepresentation as when the Daily Mail labels one photograph of a London bus ablaze "Twitter riot", but equally it appears that mobile and social media were prominent over other media and forms of communication in organising the riots. Read more