Crisis Time: 5 Tweets that Sum Up the London Riots

People using Twitter to report and comment on current events is commonplace now — and with the London Riots, people are tweeting a wide range of opinions, observing a spectrum of details, and employing a variety of hashtags to describe the violent outbursts in the global hub and UK capital city. One of the coolest things about Twitter is that reading tweets by topic, you can form a general sense of some of the basic issues at play during any one event. Here are five sample tweets that together paint a well-rounded picture of the London rioting crisis.

1. This tweet offers basic facts about the London riots, including today’s big news item that the riots have resulted now resulted in a death. The short tweet demonstrates the “breaking news” aspect of the London riots, and how easy it is to quantify the number of injuries and arrests, even though the various motivations for the riots may be harder to define so neatly.

2. On the other hand, this tweet speaks to some of the bitterness surrounding the way the riots have been handled. As always, Twitter provides a space for people to draw connections. This tweeter compared the police response to that of the royal wedding — a comment sure to spur discussion on and off Twitter as the riots unfold.

3. This comment, then, gives us a glimpse into some of the larger questions about the world’s social problems that the riots have inspired. If the riots largely express dissatisfaction with government policy and quality of life, then how do we reconcile that with other types of suffering we hear about around the world? Tweets like this remind us that the London riots are not happening in a vacuum, but in the context of all kinds of global crises that affect the way people measure their responses.


4. Here, we get a tweet from the perspective of someone living in London — reminding us that riots like this have simple, logistical consequences for the millions of citizens that inhabit cities.

5. Finally, as with most disasters and violent events, people find a way to exhibit humanity’s good qualities. Tweets like this demonstrate the more positive side of the riots — the way people come together and do their part for the sake of public safety and the well-being of those in proximity.

What aspect of the London riots compels you to tweet?