The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Take a Deep Breath and Count to 3 Before Posting…

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Guest Blogger: Sergeant Rebecca Rosenblatt, San Mateo County, California, Sheriff's Office While taking a moment to ponder the wisdom of messaging before hitting send is never a bad idea in any context, never more so does this advice bear repeating. No matter the size of the community you serve or the organization for which you work, politics is undoubtedly a hot topic. It is at the point where political beliefs and emotion converge with internet enabled devices that the potential for internal investigations and career ending mine fields begins and ends. Though it is certainly not new advice, it is a lesson worth recounting, that what staff do in the privacy of their own lives, often becomes subject to public scrutiny when posted online. Politics and religion are often deal breakers for a myriad of relationships, and so too can they be the breaking point for the public image of your organization. All the bridges built through coffee with the cops and public safety citizens’ academies can be g ...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tweets and Opinions Don’t Represent My Agency*

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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The majority of police departments in the United States now have some sort of presence on Twitter, and that’s a good thing. When used correctly and effectively, departments big and small can successfully manage critical incidents by tweeting out timely information and dispelling rumors. The rise of law enforcement on social media has also brought about many police officers, command staff, and chiefs who have created their own Twitter accounts. This is also a good thing as it fosters communication and engagement with the public and allows people to get to know the faces behind the badge. Some have “official” Twitter accounts bearing profile photos in uniform while others have “non-professional” accounts with Twitter bios that say something similar to, “tweets and opinions are my own and don’t reflect my agency…” Those with professional accounts know (or should know) to stay away from tweeting about certain topics like politics, personal opinions, or r ...

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Invest in Department Owned Platform

By Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan.

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As law enforcement agencies search for new ways to connect with their communities, they can be tempted to invest time and energy into the newest shiny object on social media. There are thousands of new social media platforms released each year. Many of these target specific hard to reach audiences for law enforcement. After investing manpower, time and other resources into learning and mastering a new social media platform, and growing a following, what happens when that very platform disappears? This is exactly what happened for many law enforcement agencies recently with several popular social media sites. Blab, a live video chat platform, suddenly closed its doors in August without any warning. Many law enforcement agencies had embraced this platform to host informative educational chats with their community. Blab was a platform that found a niche between Periscope, which is a one person type video, and Google Hangout, which is for multiple users. Blab allowed up to four people to participate in a live ...

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Monitoring the News and Social Media with Your Smart Phone – Mobile Crisis Communications

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Guest blogger: Commander Mike Parker, Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department Speed and mobility are needed to anticipate and respond quickly and effectively to critical incidents and breaking news at all hours. Free methods are readily available to monitor open sources of information with your smart phone, so you can stay aware and be able to act on the move. Government sources are usually considered the most accurate, but the bureaucratic approval process isn’t usually built for speed. Meanwhile, the news media and public sharing of information via social media are fast on the draw, but misfire as well as hit their targets especially during the first news of a crisis. Thus, a variety of methods to quickly collect, but then cross-reference to verify, makes for an efficient, active, mobile listener. The time to establish and learn your monitoring and listening system is now, before the crisis begins. Here are several free tools to make a priority using your mobile phone: ...

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What are Instagram Stories?

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

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By now, you’ve probably heard about a big uproar in the social media universe regarding the new Instagram Stories. What the heck is it, you ask? Well, it’s basically Instagram’s direct challenge to the fastest-growing, youth-obsessed platform that is Snapchat.  Instagram Stories are photos and short videos upon which you can write text, draw and color and add a few filters. They appear at the top of a user’s Instagram app with a circle around your profile photo, telling your followers that you’ve uploaded a Story. They can be watched as many times as someone wants, but disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Yes, Stories lacks many of the filters, emoji and options that Snapchat currently has, but they’re coming soon. If you’re wondering why Instagram unveiled this new option there’s a few reasons. One, Instagram is owned by Facebook and they’ve long wanted such a platform after failing to buy Snapchat a few years ago. Two, Instag ...

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Going Live in 3, 2, 1: How to Capitalize on Facebook’s Newest Feature

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Not so long ago, making sure you had a picture with every post ensured optimal reach for your audiences across your social media platforms, particularly Facebook. But Facebook is a numbers game, with developers tweaking a particular algorithm in the social media site’s code to better control how and when users see posts by people and by Pages they follow. A few months ago, Facebook announced the release of Facebook Live.  It was a touted as a game changer. Mark Zuckerberg lauded its benefits and its wonders by doing a LIVE interview with astronauts on the International Space Station.  What Zuckerberg and others failed to say, though, was that the algorithm had changed again. Now, Facebook Live is the ultimate tool to reach the widest audience possible. Images alone won’t cut it. Live-streaming, the ultimate form of real-time transparency, is what audiences will be engineered to see.  But this is no time for something akin to “The Blair Witch Project.” Aud ...

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Out with the Old, In with the New: Instagram is A Changin’

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

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The saying goes, “the more things change, the more things stay the same,” and that’s certainly true for social media. Instagram is the latest social media platform to go through a big batch of changes recently from how it looks to how it shows content. The biggest change actually affects if people will even see your content to begin with. So here’s what’s changing: New Look   The most obvious change to Instagram is the new logo and stripped down look of the accounts, which are now devoid of color outside of the content itself. Instagram did this, they said, to accentuate the content and not their app. From what I’ve read, most people preferred the old logo, but this change was more cosmetic, unlike this next one. More Video  One really nice change is the enhancement of video capabilities, which is yet another example of the growing popularity of video across all social media platforms. Instead of a mere 15 seconds of video, you now have a ...

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Increasing Facebook Likes – Ads Vs Content

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Deputy Chief Andy Johnson is a 17-year veteran of the Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department. He currently serves as Deputy Chief of Support Services, where he oversees emergency management, code enforcement, records, training, budget and purchasing, and the social media outreach program. Andy has served in a variety of roles within the Hanover Park PD including patrol sergeant, detective, special operations officer, and patrol officer. Andy led a committee tasked with developing a social media outreach initiative for the Hanover Park Police Department, known as the Police and Citizens Connected (PACC) Program. The PACC Program is a department-wide initiative which includes a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other applications. Additionally, he serves as Communications Committee Chair of the DuPage County, Illinois, Chiefs of Police Association and as a member of the Public Relations and Content Strategy Committee for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. One of the primary concerns o ...

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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

New Changes to Twitter Helps Law Enforcement

By Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan.

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Twitter has made a change that will be helpful for users, especially law enforcement users.  Twitter now allows users to retweet a previous tweet. This new function can be very helpful when trying to repost a popular tweet. It can also be useful when reposting a tweet that is part of a social media campaign without having to retype the tweet. The process is easy and straightforward. Go to a tweet. Then, click on the retweet symbol at the bottom of the tweet. Previously, this function was not available for users to retweet their own tweets. Now, users can add a comment or simply retweet their tweet. There are several other new features that Twitter will be making available in the near future if they have not done so already. When users Reply to a tweet, the @name will no longer count toward the 140-character limit. In addition, media attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, etc. will also no longer count toward the 140-character limit. This feature change will provide more characters for us ...

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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Let's Talk Platforms

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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Effectively communicating with the communities we serve is the foundation to successful policing. Social media, which will never replace our day to day interactions with the public, has now become an integral tool in building trust and passing on timely information to the public and media. Yet, not all social media platforms are the same and it would be a mistake for us to consider them so. Each has unique advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the differences will maximize your time and limited resources in reaching your community and increase the effectiveness of your messaging. Facebook As popular as Facebook is for us to keep in touch with friends and relatives, it has some significant challenges as an effective communication platform for police departments. If Facebook is your department’s only social media communication tool, you need to understand the factors at play which prevent your followers from seeing your posts. This is because your department Facebook “Page” has to comp ...

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About This Blog

So you have found, or perhaps stumbled upon, The Social Media Beat, the blog for the IACP Center for Social Media Web site. The Social Media Beat is about three things: social media, law enforcement, and perspective. Here you will find a fresh outlook on the issues that are affecting law enforcement agencies and their personnel when it comes to social media.

Social media is taking the world by storm. Social networks, blogs, photo and video sharing sites, and virtual communities are changing the way people live, work, and play. These tools present unique opportunities as well as challenges to the law enforcement community.  The Social Media Beat brings together a team of bloggers who will speak directly to you about hot topics and current issues.

Bloggers include IACP staff and practitioners in the field who can provide a unique front-line perspective. Our team cares about social media and wants to ensure that law enforcement across the country are knowledgeable and well-equipped to incorporate this technology.

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About the Authors

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which is the largest, full-service sheriff’s office in the state of Colorado. Prior to that, she spent more than six years creating and leading the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department’s social media efforts, which led to international acclaim and recognition.

She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for several years. That experience and an ingrained curiosity for what makes people tick has fueled her desire to improve communication between people. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel to develop or enhance their agency's use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations. The Center is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Leon Robertson

Officer Leon Robertson is the Social Media Coordinator for the Hampton Police Division. Robertson has developed internationally recognized public safety messages, including the Jingle Bells “Holiday Safety Remix” in December 2013. He has extensive experience in graphic design, video & audio production, and managing various social media platforms. You can follow Officer Robertson’s efforts with the Hampton Police Division on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Tracy Phillips

Tracy is a Senior Project Specialist with the IACP. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the DiscoverPolicing.org Web site and coordinating the site's social networking plan. In addition, Ms. Phillips provides writing, editorial, and technical assistance on a variety of association projects and activities, including police management studies, job analyses, executives searches, federal grants, and various research projects and proposals. She has more than 10 years of experience in state and local government, including work as a management analyst, performance auditor, and crime analyst. Ms. Phillips holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's from Clemson University.

Want to hear more from Tracy Phillips? Follow her and the Discover Policing team on TwitterFacebook, and on the Inside Discover Policing blog. You can also network with other police recruitment professionals in the Law Enforcement Recruitment LinkedIn group.

Zach Perron

Lieutenant Zach Perron is the public affairs manager for the Palo Alto (CA) Police Department. Zach was a 2014 visiting fellow at the IACP in the Center for Social Media. He serves on the steering committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG), and is a member of the US. Department of Homeland Security's Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG). He holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Stanford University and is now pursuing a graduate education at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.  You can follow him on Twitter: @zpPAPD.

Dave Norris

Sergeant Dave Norris is a 21 year veteran of the City of San Mateo Police Department. He has worked in a number of positions including Juvenile Detective, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Detective, and Patrol Supervisor. Dave is currently assigned to Community and Media Relations and oversees day-to-day functions that involve the relationship between the police, the community, and the media. Dave is dedicated to the increase of community engagement through the use of social media. Under his management, San Mateo PD's direct subscribers to community alerts and public safety messaging has grown from several hundred to over 22,000.

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. Through the department Community Action and Information Unit (CAIU), he manages strategy, community engagement, and growth through the police department social media channels. Chris has been serving the Mountain View community for over 19 years and has held a variety of assignments within MVPD. These include detective assignments in Property Crimes, Person Crimes, and High Tech Crimes as well as collateral assignments on SWAT and the Field Evidence Team. He also serves on the planning committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG). You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise Police Department and has served in that role since October, 2003. Lynn also serves at the PIO for the Boise Fire Department. Lynn authors and manages the social media outreach for Boise Police and often acts as media spokesperson. She advises officers from patrol to command staff on media and public communications skills. Lynn joined the Boise Police Department after 17 years as a television reporter, producer, anchor, and news director. Lynn regularly instructs new officers at the Boise Police Academy and has given media and public communications presentations to dozens of federal, state, and local emergency responder agencies. Follow Lynn and Boise Police on Twitter @BoisePD.

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Chief Grogan was hired on December 17, 2008, after serving 28 years with the Marietta, Georgia, Police Department, to start a brand new department. On April 1, 2009, the Dunwoody Police Department began operations with 40 sworn officers and eight civilians providing police services to the 47,000+ residents of the City of Dunwoody. Chief Grogan embraced the use of social media from day one of operations. The Dunwoody Police Department began using Twitter the first day and has added Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Vine to their arsenal since then as effective tools to market their department and engage their community. Chief Grogan has written about the benefits of law enforcements use of social media, participated in several social media focus groups and lectured at the IACP, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, COPS Conference, and many other venues. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan and the Dunwoody Police Department @DunwoodyPolice.

Mark Economou

Mark Economou is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. His media and public relations background spans nearly 20 years. Spending nearly 15 years in radio and television news, Economou held many positions from assignment editor, reporter, anchor, and executive editor. After that, he served as the Director of Media Relations for Cote & D'Ambrosio, a Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising firm in Wickford, RI. He then served as head of Media Relations for Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, the 9th largest bank in the United States. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

Frank Domizio

Corporal Frank Domizio has been with the Philadelphia Police Department since 1997. He is currently assigned to the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Lab as a Forensic Examiner. Previously he was assigned to the Department's Office of Media Relations and Public Affairs where he was the Social and Digital Media Manager. Frank has spoke at several industry conferences and major universities on the topics of social media and content strategy.

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations, and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing, and crisis communications. Tim left policing but has remained involved through consulting with law enforcement on the advancement of communications and social media. Tim runs #CopChat on Wednesday nights at 9pm ET, to allow police and community members to connect and break down barriers. To learn more about him you can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook or click here to contact him http://bit.ly/ContactTimBurrows

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement. These individuals are law enforcement professionals; sworn and civilian personnel from agencies of all types and sizes throughout the world. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send your request to socialmedia@theiacp.org. All bloggers must be affiliated with a law enforcement agency or educational institution. We cannot accept blog entries from vendors or others working in a for-profit capacity.

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