Social Media Leadership & the Vancouver Riots

I am embarrassed. I am in disbelief. I am mad. To see the absolute mayhem and destruction in Vancouver last night after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals was nothing short of disgusting.

For a city that just a few hours early was at its finest, we sure managed to turn that 2010 Olympic and 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff energy and buzz into ridicule and shame. Yet through the chaos, I also watched to see Leadership emerge . It’s Social Media that has allowed me to find those inspiring moments and it’s social media that enabled them to happen in the first place.

Here are THREE examples amidst the chaos of LEADERSHIP at its best, enabled by social media

#3: Citizen Leadership

You could see it on TV as people were trying to loot stores, citizens were standing shoulder to shoulder to try to stop them. Through Social Media, Livestream and texting, each of those heros has made a bigger impact than they know. Taking the law into your own hands when the police is not around can be scary. Each person who stepped up and tried to stop something worse from happening was not thinking of their own safety, but that of those around them, and of the city they love. THAT gets a LIKE in my books.  See this Facebook post and know that there are thousands more examples like this.

#2. Vancouver Police Department Leverages Social Media to get information

In times of crisis, people need a place to get information, to share information and to move through the emotions they are feeling. Social Media at its worst can fuel fires and amplify a situation. It can also give people a voice. The Goal of this page is to upload your photos and tag anyone you can so the VPD can start tracking the criminals.

In this case having a Facebook page growing by thousands an hour is giving people a voice. The crowd is self managing on that page. There is no one leader, but VPD created the SPACE and on the page you now see people having the confidence to post pictures, video, and voice their disgust.

Twitter and Facebook and texting allowed the VPD and Emergency Response to see where the worst areas were and you know they had a team in central command monitoring those tweets and posts.

Although I have my thoughts about the speed at which VPD responded and the amount of support we saw, I do commend them for creating the space for leadership to emerge online.

#1  BC, Leadership and Social Media at its finest: Event page for cleanup.

Amidst the livestream video and horror show going on live, a new Facebook event page showed up. Smitty Smith created the page and all I can gather looking at a profile picture and the fact that he is in a Vancouver Island High School social media network he must be in his teens.

The event has an awesome logo and is encouraging people from today to saturday to come downtown for a massive cleanup effort- come out and show people what your city is made of. Take back your city. At the point of writing this blog post, 13,100 people said they were attending.

Whether they attend or not, Smitty has given Vancouverites and Canadians and all supporters of Vancouver a voice and a place to show leadership in their own way.

So this may be the image the world has of Vancouver this morning, a city that just destroyed and embarrassed itself. I guarantee that will be quickly replaced by a stronger set of images, of vancouver showing leadership from every corner of the city, from people stepping up to contribute in a small way, to make it right. THAT is LEADERSHIP.



  1. Langley22 on June 17, 2011 at 1:20 am

    I was born in Vancouver 58 years ago. I have always been proud and honoured to be from the most beautiful city in the world and the people that live in it. I grew up with HUGE changes to the city landscape, multiculturalism and learning to grow both as a person and as a city on the world map. Last night I was embarrassed to tell anyone I was from Vancouver.Today reading this site I am brought to tears to read some many of our youth not only feel my shame BUT have taken up the cause to correct it.  You have the power not to let a few hurt the many. They are bullies in a crowd, fearless in a mob but can do nothing to no one if you do not allow them to dictate our city and our sports, fireworks, etc. I have never attended a mass celebration but I will make sure I am at the next one be it the fireworks or whatever. And I will attend and enjoy myself and I will defend my city against any hooligan who decides to disrepect it. I will stay silent no more. You pissed me off in 94 and I did nothing….You pissed me off again last night and now I draw the line in the sand. It only takes a few good men to do nothing……I will never again sit back and bitch and moan at the choas on TV, I will be there stopping you….


  2. Chris Hughes on June 17, 2011 at 3:15 am

    I saw posts that people were writing on Facebook about “I just beat up a cop!” or “I lit this car on fire!” and was completely outraged.

    However after seeing people start posting pictures onto Facebook and finding out that people were tagging others who were vandalizing and causing the riot, I realized that there were still a ton of good people there working hard to keep the city in shape.

    I love that the high school kid started the group and just hope that a lot of people show up to help clean up the area! 

  3. Kathleen M. Keith on June 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Christine, thanks for posting “Social Media Leadership and the Vancouver Riots.”  The times they are a changin’… In the past, the frustration and powerless legal maneuvering of “He said, He said”, etc., got so many vandals and criminals out of any punishment or social proof for their mayhem.  It’s no longer “Big Brother is watching”…we are all watching and we have smart phones, flip videos and iPads, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of other tech tools to capture condemning images, texting and gloating that can truly become evidence.  Good people are being recognized for fighting back against vandalism, cruelty, discrimination, bad bosses, and now bad governments.  I glad I’m in this business and honored to be associated with a leader such as you.

  4. Christine McLeod on June 18, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Kathleen, Chris and Langley22. This has been a powerful few days. Crowds at their worst on wednesday night and since then, crowds at their best

    http://var/www/vhosts/ and what is happening on Facebook and other sites people standing up for the bullies, their amazing city and showing Vancouver’s true colors. There is still hope, and we get inspired and often courageous by acts of leadership around us that give us something to rally for

  5. Meetu Singhal on June 18, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Great stories of leadership indeed!  The whole world is sad about what happened. here is another story that is spreading viral . It is very romantic 🙂 http://var/www/vhosts/  

  6. Meetu Singhal on June 18, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Great stories of leadership indeed!  The whole world is sad about what happened. here is another story that is spreading viral . It is very romantic 🙂 http://var/www/vhosts/