Social media, Boris Johnson as London’s mayor and the ‘social media’ riots.
My recent blog post about the so-called ‘social media’ riots was inspired by the politician’s using social media, and particularly Blackberry, as a scapegoat!
Many social media advocates were far from impressed! It seems that the politician’s are more than a little hypocritical about social media, condemning Twitter, Facebook and YouTube when it suits them, but still quite happy to use it for a little cost effective self promotion.
I wasn’t too sure about how Boris really handled the whole ‘social media riots’ situation either, so I decided to look at how our politicians actually use social media themselves and I discovered some very interesting facts.
The first thing I noticed was that London’s mayor Boris Johnson, uses social media a lot!
This YouTube video shows London’s mayor soon after the riots and he actually seems very genuine. However, later in the clean up video, (promoted by social media) he seems to relish the PR opportunity, but not really be with the people of London.
Boris blamed Twitter for the riots, yet his cousin, Prime Minister David Cameron blamed Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry, who was right? Or maybe they were both wrong?
Boris said: ‘These were the actions of criminals who took part in premeditated acts of violence and theft. I have read some of the conspiratorial “tweets” and frankly I find them nauseating in their jocular greed and brutality.’
David said: ‘Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill. 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.’
David continued, ‘The home secretary will meet with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry to discuss their ‘responsibility’ over messages that could fuel violence.’
The claim, echoed by the prime minister, that the riots were organised using social media services like Twitter and Facebook has been widely repeated, despite there being little evidence to show that they played a significant role in organising the riots. Attempts by some individuals to incite new riots on social media services have resulted in a number of arrests, but no apparent fresh unrest.
So it wasn’t just RIM’s Blackberry to blame. It wasn’t just private messaging that caused the problem, so why blame Blackberry? Where do the politicians really stand on social media? Don’t they like social media?
Sure they do! Here’s the CyberBorisjohnson blog…
Here’s details of the big Facebook debate regarding Boris and his socialist enemy ‘Red’ Ken.
So it appears that social media is just a convenient place to point political fingers and the politician’s are having a love hate relationship with social media.
Is social media to blame for what happened? I don’t think it is. The unrest was triggered by a host of issues and these can be discussed and debated forever without really addressing the root cause of the problems.
Should politicians be allowed to switch off the people’s social media voice whenever they want to? I don’t think so, isn’t this supposed to be a free country?
If the politician’s and their powerful friends control the press where will the people voice their opinions in this democracy of ours?
Here’s a good video from CNN that uses social media in a positive way.
I’d love to hear a few opinions on this very controversial matter. I love social media as a platform, it breaks down barriers and levels the ‘playing field’ but not if it’s switched off. We know the problems, they are social but they are not social media; that’s for sure.
I believe social media is a major breakthrough for people and consumers on all levels and I’ve seen it provide companies with opportunities to readdress their marketing approach and their budget. Permission marketing or ‘in bound marketing’ and Web 2.0 has changed everything and has finally provided the consumer with a voice. Isn’t it right that the people or the consumers can use the same social media platforms for their political voice?
It seems that the politicians can, so why not the people?
I would love to hear your opinions on this, please feel free to comment or vote for this on Google+, StumbleUpon etc or just Tweet it.
If you want to know more about how social media can help your company, call 01473 435308 and remember, our advice is FREE!
- Boris Johnson, if you’d tweeted better you could still be on holiday (guardian.co.uk)
- Boris Johnson heckled in Clapham Junction over London riots (guardian.co.uk)
- Pro-Social Media: London Riot Cleanup Gets Organized By Twitter (mediaite.com)
- London riots: residents vent anger at Boris Johnson (telegraph.co.uk)
- Residents vent anger at Boris Johnson (independent.co.uk)
- Riots: Boris Johnson calls for police budget cuts to be scrapped (mirror.co.uk)
- Ken Livingstone loses battle on home front | Media Monkey (guardian.co.uk)