London is the latest city to witness the speed of social mobilization. If the Middle Eastern countries are able to spark protests despite limited bandwidth and a crackdown on social networks, imagine a Western city with Internet freedom, smartphone and Internet ubiquity. The London riots spread quickly through Facebook, Twitter, and BBM. Increased communication and coordination creates its own firestorm through technology. BUT, as rapidly as word spreads can also be the reason actions come to an abrupt end. It works like this:
- Social media sparks the event. Mobilization travels quickly.
- Social media discusses the event through pictures, words, and videos. People show care, even Wayne Rooney. The news goes global.
- Social media puts an end to the stir by calling up mobilization of a counter measure, aka the police.
And now, thousands of volunteers are using social media to help clean up the streets. The ability to market and mobilize people for action, good or bad, is now easier than ever because social networks hit so many people.