Over the weekend, riots erupted in the streets of Tottenham, a suburb of North London, following purported policy brutality against citizen Mark Duggan earlier in the week. What started out as a nonviolent demonstration blew up into almost-anarchy NYC ’77-style as word got around the city that police, though antagonizing the crowds, were quickly losing control.
Unlike in Egypt when Twitter helped organize revolting civilians against an oppressive devil-incarnate president, BlackBerry Messenger has been reported to be the communication tool of choice for the London looters and firestarters (cue The Prodigy). A third of all British teens own BlackBerrys since they’re cheaper relative to Android and iOS device and the keyboards probably make it easier for them to type out their incomprehensible cockney slang. Additionally, compared to texting or tweeting, BBM and its reliance on PINs allow for the most privacy amongst smartphones, so the LDN youths can get away with messages like, “SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!)”
The Sex Pistols would be proud.