After the beginning of widespread riots and looting this week, Twitter has become a double-edged sword. Twitter's ability to crowd-source the news before the news knows about the news is having positive and negative effects. Popular hashtags this week have been the locations of riots, i.e. #londonriots, #liverpoolriots and #birminghamriots plus more specific locations. The mainstream media has blamed social media for helping to organise the looting and violence. However, with knowledge of where violence is occurring, people can avoid those areas and be safer.
There are some encouraging hashtags trending on Twitter at the moment. #prayforlondon is sweet. Although, as much as well-wishing is nice and a sign of solidarity, the actual impact of praying for anything is, of course, debatable. The most heartening trend is #riotcleanup. People are getting together to make their communities safe and tidy, which, after this weeks news, is wonderful.