The country is in a state of panic following news that the London riots have now spread to other parts of the country including Birmingham and Liverpool. As someone who stays between both of these cities, I was really alarmed yesterday evening to hear that incidents were occurring in places as close as the end of my road.
Glued to my Twitter feed, I sat ploughing through the numerous trending topics and wondering how to decipher the truth from the myths. I must admit I’ve been disappointed with the national news channels; coverage seems to be focused on the London events. With this in mind it is necessary to seek information from other media outlets for timely updates.
Twitter is a fantastic source for up-to-date alerts. It can be vital in helping you to pin point where trouble has occurred near you; for example, the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham tweeted yesterday ‘Bullring will be closing at 7pm this evening due to events in the city’. Be sure to check your feed but remember the following when reading information:
- DON’T believe everything you see on Twitter. Unfortunately some people are using it to cause more alarm and spreading untrue rumours. The featured image of the Bull in Birmingham was spreading rapidly among users last night and was, of course, a fake.
- DO check updates from trusted sources such as the national news channels and your regional news channel.
- DO search your local area to see if anything has occurred (but, again, don’t take anything as gospel) and where possible try to give clear updates yourself.
(Sometimes a bit of comic relief is exactly what’s needed in the light of a disaster. The following tweet caught my eye yesterday evening:
- “Some people not happy I’m tweeting about Yorkshire tea & not the riots. If the police can’t stop ‘em a tweet from me ain’t gonna do shit!” – Alan Carr, @alancarr)
Already a number of blogs have been created to report on the happenings of the riots. Although they’re not necessarily always accurate, they are full of eye-witness reports and are largely based on personal experiences.
- Vice Magazine live blogging: www.viceland.com/wp/2011/08/liveblogging-the-riots/
- Birmingham Riot blog: www.birminghamriots2011.tumblr.com
If you know anyone involved in these riots, please do what you can to help identify them:
- Catch a Looter: www.catchalooter.tumblr.com
- West Midlands police: http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/latest-news/majoroperations/operationview/
And now for the most important link. To help your community and those around you, visit www.riotcleanup.co.uk.
Let’s hope this madness comes to an end very soon.