“I look down on him because I have Linkdin on my Smartphone…..
I look up to him, because he has Linkdin on his Smartphone; but I look down on him because he just has a Blackberry. I have Twitter ….
I know my place. Innit?”
Social media is just as capable of stratifying as every other part of society. If we want to use it to improve social mobility and close the divide between Britain's social classes, we cannot assume this will happen automatically – people have to make it so.So says James Ball, data journalist working for the Guardian investigations team.
And how so?
… the role of Facebook and Twitter in fuelling August's riots was marginal at best: analysis of more than 2.5m tweets obtained by the Guardian found only a tiny fraction of users attempting to incite trouble – and even these were generally shouted down. Instead, the networks were used to mobilise clean-up operations and report on the trouble, with mainstream journalists frequently using Twitter to make up-to-the-minute reports which were on occasion themselves used by rioters.Ah, so technology is a force for good as well? Whodathunk it….
In reality, Social media's role in the riots was largely confined to another network: BlackBerry Messenger. Rapidly portrayed as a faintly sinister untraceable, encrypted network, BBM is the social network of choice for many of Britain's teens – and through its ties to urban music, it is particularly popular in inner cities. BBM is cheaper than other networks, too.I do love the ‘ties to urban music’ and ‘popular in inner cities’ codes.
C’mon, James, we all know what you mean!