Tweeting the London riots

With tweets coming by the dozens every minute, it’s been fascinating to follow the #londonriots hashtag on twitter.

While rioters have reportedly used social media to organise themselves, it could be the same medium that brings them unstuck, with sites spontaneously springing up from outraged Londoners like this and this, and even the handy google map.

There’s also an amazing array of videos popping up on youtube and the occasional suspicious tweet that sounds like someone arranging a rendezvous, and some particularly foolish individuals have posted photos of themselves on their facebook pages with the loot.

In the meantime, many hand-wringing tweeters have been tripping over themselves trying to find an excuse for the violence, with tweets like these:

violence and theft on the streets vs. state violence & corp theft: which is worse? who steals for what purpose?

All over the world, austerity is destroying the social fabric

A generation bred on a diet of excessive consumerism and bombarded by advertising had been unleashed

londonriots aren’t political. They’re what you get when people DON’T have politics to channel their dissatisfaction.

of course no one is condoning violence but people are fed up & last i checked #poverty is a form of violence, of the worst kind

I am not for burning down ppl’s homes or private shops,definitely not ok, but we must understand where the anger is coming frm

don’t blame the violance, blame the incapable gov that rather spends millions on wars & weddings than education & healthcare

bankers looted the economy, now rioters are looting shops

When millionaires are in government & insist on tough times for the serfs.. what do you expect?

it’s not justifying violence to ask ‘why?’. Why are these youth so disaffected, disenfranchised, angry, poor?

the same culture that considers army intervention as mandatory makes violent revolutions inevitable

Nick Clegg warned of riots last April if the Conservatives won the election

Maybe these #riots are orchestrated by Murdoch as retaliation for being outed in the phone hacking scandal?

Then there were the less sympathetic tweets:

30 youths broke into restaurant and robbed us all at knifepoint.Shaken but ok. No phone, Angry.

how disadvantaged can people be if they’re using blackberries to mobilise?

Egyptians and Tunisians took revenge for Khaled Said and Bouazizi by peacefully toppling their murdering regimes, not stealing DVD players.

Italian guy at East Finchley station: “They need to shoot these people down. Too much democracy”

Dis is wat happens wen a mother cnt call her children 2 order

And then there were the less serious:

Two looters fought for a stick of bread in a supermarket yesterday. Violence baguettes violence

Brockwell Lido has cancelled tonight’s Flamenco class! If I wasn’t angry before, I am now. Sort it out, Cameron

wow these flash mobs are really getting out of hand