I had the pleasure to attend a small panel discussion at the recently held MISBC event in Sidney, B.C – MISABC is an event for the MISA organization and their membership of Local Government professionals. The final day of the conference was a day set aside to look at GIS and Geo technologies. The first part of the day was the main conference wrap up and devoted to a panel discussion looking at the Vancouver riot that followed during the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals which took place in Vancouver, B.C.
The 90 minute session was ripe with discussion and several panelists with varying background in technology, new media, social networking, journalism and the likes were invited to participate and drive the discussion (sorry but I didn’t take note of their names).
There was a number of interesting points raised although and there was some opposing views evident in the crowd. Additionally, there really was no winner or looser to the panel and there was no clear direction to come out of the 90 minute talks. Some of the points that I picked up (my opinion) include the following:
– there is a clear difference between a riot and a protest, although to many these lines are a bit fuzzy
– social media indeed may have played a role in growing the crowd and participation rate in the riots, however, it also played a role in alerting the world to the severity of the event
– there are many potentially harmful situations that can arise from social media sharing, particularly if a person is shown out of context
– once information is shared via social media streams you cannot take it back
– there exists the potential for people’s civil liberties to be stepped on in this kind of situation
– could geo technologies have been used to a greater extent as the event unfolded? Indeed… perhaps for showing exact locations of crimes as they took place, perhaps to share potential safe passage out of the dangerous areas, and many other ways
– government and official websites and social streams may be sharing personal information without the proper policies in place
– social media cannot be blamed in any way for what transpired in Vancouver in June 2011
– attempts to control social media are crazy – attention should be paid to how to use it in the future to avoid or diffuse such situations
– there’s definitely a culture gap between the middle age (and older) and youth as to how they view social media, how they use it, and what they think is appropriate to use it for.
Some of the numbers about the riot as of Sept. 2011:
- over 150 arrests
- 90% of arrests are males
- 9 officers injured
- 29 businesses damaged extensively
- over $1 million damage to London Drugs
- hundreds of web tips to police
- 1600 hrs of video footage to go over
- 10’s of thousands of photos to examine
- 4,000+ email tips