The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reputation Management... The Ins and Outs

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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Managing your reputation begins with putting your best foot forward and the next step is that you have to make sure you are listening to what people are saying. Ensuring that you are there in the social space to address the community concerns, compliments, comments, and criticism is extremely important to ensuring that you are on top of protecting your reputation and doing everything you can to mitigate potential risks. You need to have policies in place that ensure the ground rules for your members are laid out. Don’t create cumbersome policies that restrict every movement and remember that you already should have many policies and governance pieces that define appropriate behaviour, decorum, and language already. Your policy needs to address social media use, not duplicate what’s already in place. Those policies also need to lay out for the community what is acceptable too.  Criminal conduct, profanity, spam, abuse, etc., cannot be tolerated, but you have to let your community know ...

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Social Media is Just Telling a Story with Better Visuals

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is a member of the Richmond Police Department's Public Affairs Unit in Richmond, Virginia. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

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So you’ve decided to use social media for your agency, whether you want to or not. If it’s hard to wrap your head around everything, just think of it as telling a story… but with better visuals. That’s one of the ways we teach people how to write a press release. Rather than start with, “At 0800 hours, police responded to an event,” which is complete “police speak,” we tell people to imagine they’re telling a friend a story. Do you talk to your friends like the above? Probably not. It’s the same with social media. You’re basically just telling a story. Even if you think what you’re saying is more important than “pretty pictures” or video, you’re wrong. It may not be right, but images and videos get and keep people’s interest. That actually helps you because you want people to pay attention to what you’re saying. Here are some examples. Got an event coming up like a press conference or a recruit grad ...

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Make sure your local media follow your social network sites!

By Lynn Hightower

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise, Idaho, Police Department. Follow Lynn on Twitter @BoisePD.

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Like most police agencies using social networking, we at Boise PD use Twitter, and sometimes our Facebook page to communicate breaking news. And since BPD has been using these sites, we’ve urged local media to follow our sites for public safety and traffic alerts – or risk missing it! In the Boise PD PIO office, we’re still issuing e-mails to media, but for almost all breaking news, traffic alerts, and community service news, we FIRST get the info out via our social network sites, reaching both citizens AND the media with the information. Occasionally, I’ll send media an e-mail reminding them to be sure to follow BPD social network sites. Still, this week, after nearly two years of this practice, I had a call from one newsroom manager complaining they had missed an update, in this case, the number of acres burned in a local grass fire. A good suggestion (and the one I made to the newsroom manager) is to have reporters use TweetDeck and set up a group, which makes a separate c ...

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Google +... The New Social Media Equation?

By IACP Center for Social Media

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media is a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement use social media.

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So what is Google +? Well, first off, it’s not Google Buzz. Or Google +1. It is, however, Google’s answer to the social networking equation. The service is starting by invite only, which is not surprising considering that’s how Gmail (Google’s e-mail system) started out. But, even with the invite system, Google + has already reached over 10 million members. Google staff has announced that they will soon be rolling out a version of Google + for businesses and organizations, but there is no definite date as to when that will be. In the meantime, as law enforcement personnel, it is important for you to know what Google + is, and how to use it safely. This post provides a brief overview of the service, and explains how to manage a few of the key privacy settings. If you need additional assistance, you can contact the IACP Center for Social Media at socialmedia@theiacp.org. Google + incorporates many different networking features including the stream, circles, hangouts, and spark ...

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be Careful What You Tweet... Or Who You Tweet As!

By Mark Economou

Mark Economou

Mark is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

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So you are the social media person for your agency. During the day you monitor tweets and Facebook postings. With dashboards like TweetDeck and HootSuite it’s easy to also add multiple accounts. So it comes as no surprise that over the last few months some very big agencies sent out personal tweets over their agency account. Oops. One agency complained about having to monitor a news channel they didn’t agree politically with. Another couldn’t wait to get out of work for the weekend and start drinking some microbrew beer. It was meant to be tweeted from her personal account, but instead went out to all 270,000 followers of her organization. What did she tweet? "Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head's Midas touch beer...when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd." And just recently Entenmann’s tweeted out “Who’s #notguilty of eating all the tasty treats they want.” Problem is it was seconds after the Casey Anthony not guilty verdict was handed down and ...

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Or Just Click the Button.

By IACP Center for Social Media

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media is a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement use social media.

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Yesterday, Chief Grogan talked about publicizing your agency’s social media efforts. One of the major ways to do this, is to place a social media button on your agency’s main Web page. Recently, Twitter released the Follow button, which looks something like this: Agencies can place this button on their Web site and visitors can click it to automatically begin following that agency on Twitter. If the user is logged in to Twitter then they will simply click this button to follow your agency. If they are not logged in, they will be prompted to do so. Why does this matter? Well, we know that attention spans are shortening and people prefer things to be easier, requiring the least amount of steps possible. The Follow button does just that. The older Twitter buttons and widgets served as a link to an organization’s Twitter page. However, users still had to click “Follow” on the agency’s Twitter page in order to begin following. The new Follow button takes one ...

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Publicizing Your Department's Use of Social Media

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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If your department uses social media but no one in your community knows about it, what value are you providing them? The answer is none. In fact, you are just wasting the resources you could use more effectively in other areas. That is why it is extremely important to publicize your use of social media in every way possible. When you put a lot of effort into doing this, your reward will be more likes and followers, more community engagement and more effective communication. Most departments can’t afford an expensive billboard. Most can’t afford to film a commercial for television. Today, most departments can’t even afford to take out an advertisement in the newspaper. Fortunately, there are inexpensive but effective alternatives. Here are a few of the major examples. The first way to publicize your department’s use of social media is electronically. This seems simple but can often be overlooked. The landing page of your Web site should have links or badges displayed prominently ...

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Reputation Management... Do You Hear What I Hear?

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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In the last blog post about reputation management, we talked about you putting your best foot forward by ensuring that you were properly contributing within your social media presence. Managing your words and actions in a manner that let people know where you stand, who and what you represent, what your agency represents and always staying in line with your goals, vision, objectives, etc. So, the next part of managing your reputation is knowing what people are saying about you, your peers, and/or your agency. We’ve all been in social situations where someone finds out you’re a police officer and almost immediately comes the, “I have a friend that got this ticket. He wasn’t even doing anything wrong…” or the friend who got arrested for no reason, “The police just took him in and…” Here is your opportunity to perform reputation management. How you react to this varies but some of the considerations you will think about in your next move will d ...

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tweets and Updates During a Standoff - A Whole New Consideration

By Lynn Hightower

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise, Idaho, Police Department. Follow Lynn on Twitter @BoisePD.

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Recently, Boise PD officers responded to two suicidal subject calls in one weekend. That's not unusual. What's unique is both played out very publicly in or near major intersections. And since one occurred Friday night and the other on Sunday, even though I'm on call as PIO, I first heard of both these events over Twitter, even before the watch or incident commander had sent out what we call a "command text" alerting department supervisors. In one case, the first tweet came from a reporter who happened to be very close as the first event unfolded. The second incident was a fairly common citizen question, "@BoisePD, why is the road blocked at 18th & State?" Officers on both incidents reported citizens stopping in parking lots, even on streets taking pictures with cell phones and texting out the photos. The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, in their case study featured last month at www.iacpsocialmedia.org, talks about their success using hashtags on Twitter and Facebook updates to get ...

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Social Media Dashboards: What They Are and How To Use Them

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is a member of the Richmond Police Department's Public Affairs Unit in Richmond, Virginia. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

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Every day, you probably hear about different terms related to social media. Thankfully, you have the IACP Center for Social Media to help you define what most of these terms are. However, what about the technologies you can use to manage your social media? Here are some examples: HootSuite, TweetDeck, Tweetcaster, EchoFon, Peep, TwitBird, Plume, Twidroyd and CoTweet. If you're now scratching your head and saying, "Echo... phone?" it's OK. Heck, I didn't even know about some of these until I started looking at how my friends were posting information to social media. All of these are similar to Twitter. The difference is that you're using a single tool or dashboard, or application as it's called on a cell phone, to manage multiple social media sites. By using a single dashboard, you can tweet, post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets all from one application. Some can be used on both a desktop computer and cell phones while others may be cell phone only. The point of a social medi ...

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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 social media guru for the Richmond Police Department. As a member of the Department's Public Affairs Unit since September 2008, she created and developed the agency's successful use of social media and continues to try and find new ways to improve the way Richmond Police communicate online. She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to the past four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for six 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 @RichmondPolice.

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.

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.

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 is a Sergeant with the Toronto Police - Traffic Services Unit. His primary role is the supervisor for strategic communications and media relations related to traffic issues within the geographical boundaries of Toronto. Tim was appointed to the Traffic Services Communications Office in 2008 with the mandate to raise the profile of traffic issues within the mindset of the general public. In an effort to enhance traffic safety and to control the timing and full scope of messaging, he has developed a targeted information stream using social media to expand the Toronto Police Service span of influence within the Toronto community and beyond with the goal of reducing collisions, injury, and death in Toronto. Using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogs, Tim has pushed information about traffic safety to the citizens of Toronto and has opened the lines of communication to allow for collaborative efforts with community groups, road users, and individuals.

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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