Everyone is aware of the viral nature of our new methods of communication — instant videos on YouTube and tweets on Twitter. But those who should be most concerned about the overwhelming negative content of the Internet are the police. And yet I encounter little or no use of Facebook and Twitter, and YouTube by police other than reporting traffic jams, crimes recently committed, help in solving them, and crime prevention tips. I am not saying this is not important, but rather this is only Communication 101, when its time now for a graduate course.
If police leaders and their agencies do not have a presence on Facebook, a Twitter account and their own channel on YouTube, they are missing the boat.
For every egregious, stupid, shocking, and misconduct event there should be an equally strong and positive response. Sure, there are knuckle-headed police out there who are embarrassing the entire profession — some acts are even down-right criminal — but that should never restrain and open and honest organizational response. The bad apples will never get out of the barrel as long as they are immune from being compared with whata is good and professional police work.
That’s who the overwhelming majority of police are. So, let’s balance the flood of bad with a flood of good. What I mean by this is that police need to have a strong presence on the Internet which captures the 99% of what they do and not the few (often tragic) mistakes that are made.
Police help people, they protect them, they give needed advice, they keep the city’s peace, they give needed counsel and direction. Police also save lives, they protect those who are vulnerable and act as the “glue” that holds together many troubled neighborhoods. The public needs to see those positive images.
Police can do this by countering the bad out there by strongly showing and stating: “That’s not who we are! Look at us and what we really do for you!”
And, in response, to post a well-produced, high-quality image(s) and do it often and continuously. Telling your story is very essential. Never, never underestimate the power of storytelling!
Here’s some good social media advice from everbridge.com:
- Before posting, ask yourself if your message adds value.
- Tell people who you are and how you do your job.
- Use humor, (that is, if you’re funny).
- Adhere to the culture of your department and the community.
- Get creative with the types of content.
- Answer/reply to people.
- Tell stories backed up by facts and data.
It’s time to put your best foot forward as to who you really are!
Capture that! Post it! Comment on it and start living in this New Age.
By the way, you can also follow and tweet me at @bocougar!
- What the State of Ohio is doing on Twitter: See #changestartshereohio.
- Over 3 million persons viewed this breakdancing cop on YouTube.
- Within hours, a million viewers saw this cop throwing a football.
- This one, too, cops playing basketball.
- Nine million persons watched this forceful arrest which demonstrated good police control.
Enjoy the future — it’s here!