It's a weird quirk of today's interconnected world, but the moment that something happens - especially when that something is a riot - people's minds often leap to tourism. When massive protests swept through Greece, one of the big stories was about how the unrest created great travel opportunities. When the Arab Spring hit Egypt, among the iconic images were those now famous photos of protesters holding up a sign saying "Dear tourists don't leave, we'll protect you." And with Vancouver recovering from the rioting that broke out last week, people attention is again focused on, among other things, how the riots are affecting tourism.
Vancouver's local News 1130 reports on the collective effort of local citizens to "dispel that the night's negative energy." Organized as a Facebook Event that had over 20,000 Attending confirmations, the idea was to bring out Canadians who wanted to repair both the city and its image. The center of the violence has even become something of a tourist attraction, with people writing condolences on a "Citizen's Wall" that's been set up.
The social media effort generated obvious and direct results. Most immediately, of course, was that the affected areas got cleaned up. There are reports and photos of thousands of people coming together to help fix the damage to stores and restaurants. But it also produced a wave of unity across Twitter, Facebook, and even Flickr and YouTube. On Twitter the #thisismyvancouver hashtag for the event ended up trending. Meanwhile people produced mashups and videos like the one below, combining the NHL's well-known playoff commercials with the cleanup effort. A genuinely heartwarming response to a tragic situation.