In 1985 London boiled in a summer of unrest known as the Boardwater Farm Riots. Some 26 years later, last summer's London Riots began under much the same circumstances yet grew to be dramatically more destructive. The primary difference between the two events: the present-day existence of social media. As a result the London Riots of 2011 were meticulously documented in millions of Tweets, BBM messages, Internet news mentions, and Facebook posts. The electronic record tells a fascinating tale of social media’s role in the chaos, from its provision of “utilities” for riot planners and onlookers to its ability to steer the event’s emotional tone. Framed in the context of the Arab Spring uprising that came before and the Occupy Movement that would follow, this presentation offers a unique view into one of the most devastating illustrations of social media's power the world has known and the role it plays for revolutionaries, rioters, and rebels alike.
9th–13th March 2012