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Finally – A Good Use for Social Media

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First off, let me preface by saying I think there are a lot of great uses for Social Media and I wrote a blog about the business case for Social Media so I do believe in the power of this latest of internet phenomena. But it does have a dark side not unlike the rest of the web: narcissism, exploitation, and criminal activity to name but a few. Still, I think the upside far outweighs the down and I do believe that good eventually triumphs over evil.

So let me tell you where I think Social Media had its shining moment in the sun…

I live in the city that had the misfortune of hosting the Stanley Cup finals; particularly Game 7 which will live on in infamy in the hearts and minds of the citizens of the great city of Vancouver. I am unabashedly a Vancouver Canucks fan – hey, I’ve lived here most of my life so of course I am; you would be too (but I digress) and let me say that the true fans had nothing to do with the disgusting riots that left the integrity of the game and the city we love in question. I sat and watched (from the safetyof my living room, thank God) as the lunatics ran amuck destroying both the property and reputation of the city that less than 18 months ago hosted one of the all-time great parties that was the 2010 Olympics.

Two things came out of this: the first was the amazing speed at which the news of this debacle circled the globe. Within 1 hour, #canucksriot was trending #2 in the world on Twitter! The whole world was watching in real time as the sickening events unfurled. News of the riot went viral within minutes – all because of Social Media. Talk about powerful! The second thing to come out of this was the incredible willingness of the participants to indict themselves and supply our penal system with the undeniable evidence required to bring them to justice (I am once again reminded of the bank robbers who take pictures of themselves during the commission of their crimes and then leave the camera behind). Clearly, a demonstration of the lack of grey matter between their collective ears. Many of them were so clever, they posted pictures of themselves along with a blow-by-blow description of their despicable acts on their Facebook pages (in some cases, with the laundry list of items they looted from the stores whose windows they smashed!) exposing themselves to the world as the single digit IQ idiots that they are. Just Google Brock Anton who has become the poster-boy for stupidity and the most vilified person in Vancouver (and maybe Canada) for sullying the reputation of this proud city and nation.

So what’s that got to do with a good use for Social Media? Well, within hours (maybe minutes) of these heinous acts being committed, a number of websites and Facebook pages sprang up with a rallying call: Let’s finger all the perps by posting every picture of every imbecile who showed their true colours (and I’m not talking about the blue and green of the Canucks) for the world – and more importantly – the Vancouver Police Department to see. The results? Hundreds of arrests and a public shaming of those low-lifes responsible for this unbelievable display of stupidity. Not to mention the indisputable evidence of their crimes – how easy will it be to prove their guilt now? I hope the judge(s) lock them up and throw away the key.

Social Media has come a long way in a very short time but in a matter of a few short hours, it matured well beyond its years.

Social Media developed something that has been sorely lacking in society – a Social Conscience. Maybe there is hope for the human race yet…

Agree? Disagree? Post your comments…