#RiotCleanup on Twitter Demonstrates London’s Efforts to Overcome Devastation of Riots

Posted Aug 9, 2011

The hashtag #RiotCleanup has taken over a lot of Twitter streams as the people of London try to clean up the devastation of the past days of rioting. The police advised civilians to stay at home but the city hasn’t listened, and has instead rallied via social media to band together and clean up the streets. Twitter user @Lawcol888 has been posting photos, including the one at the top of this story, which quickly gained national attention after being reposted by former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party John Prescott, British journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan and others. The evidence of the clean up is just as viral as the call to action itself.

Other outlets are using the social media frenzy around #riotcleanup in a different way: Channel 4 News posted CCTV photos of alleged rioters and tweeted the link asking for anyone who could identify the suspects. The Metropolitan Police posted photos of suspects on their Flickr and then tweeted the link.

Many events create Twitter trends with calls for donations or prayers, but London has undeniably turned Twitter into a call for action with #riotcleanup and the civilian reporting that accompanies it. BBM may have had a hand in creating the riots, but Twitter is a part of the clean up in a big way, reminding us that social media technology is an extension of our social interactions, and can be used for good.