The Social Media Beat

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The Social Media Beat

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Navigating Through Facebook Page Changes

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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Facebook is at it again. They recently changed the way “Pages” are viewed and how you interact with them. In this blog post I will try to break down some of the changes, how they will affect you, and how you can work around it. Facebook has continued to push for “pay to post”, meaning if you want your story to be seen they want you to pay to boost it. There are some things you can do to still get people to see your posts but first let’s talk about the actual visual changes to your page. Before the changes, when you switched from the user page to your “Business” page, you also had a home page for that account. Meaning if I clicked “Home” when on the Boca Raton Police page, I got the pages we follow here at Boca Police. That is not the case anymore and these changes risk you posting to your page from your main account. Take a look at the image below; notice no matter what page you are on, it still says you are on your login homepage. Next ...

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

#IACP2015 Session Recap: Social Media Bootcamp

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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While just about every PIO session at this year’s IACP Conference and Exposition in Chicago had a nearly full audience and was jam packed with information, one session in particular hit it out of the park. Social Media Boot Camp with presenters Lieutenant Zach Perron from Palo Alto Police Department and Captain Chris Hsiung from Mountain View Police Department, packed the house with standing room only and left everyone wanting more. The two literally tag teamed the presentation, taking turns giving everyone the 101 on social media. To go through the entire presentation would take forever. So here are some of the key points. The session started off with Lieutenant Perron letting everyone know it’s an interactive session. He encouraged everyone to tweet about it, but to also tweet questions to them and they would answer them in between slides live! Lieutenant Perron also encouraged everyone to take a picture with one of the hundreds of Chicago Police Department officers helping keep the Conference ...

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Monday, October 12, 2015

IACP 2015 Chicago: Public Information Track Preview

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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Five years ago I was honored to be part of the first social media session at IACP in Orlando 2010. At the time social media was fairly new, especially to law enforcement. Late in 2008 we were one of the first departments to actively start using Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the community. I was told we would be happy if 50 people showed up for the presentation at IACP 2010. By the time it started we had standing room only, 125 people packed the room to hear about this new thing people were using. By a show of hands not many were using any social media platforms and even less wanted to start. But they showed up to see what it was all about. Fast forward to IACP 2014 in Orlando and what a different four years makes. There were four days of Public Information sessions, many addressing the different aspects of social media. It was held in one of the larger rooms at the conference and nearly every session was packed. IACP 2015 in Chicago promises to deliver even more. This year th ...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Periscope and Meerkat

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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Two new social media apps have hit the streets and they are taking off like wildfire. They are called Meerkat and Periscope. Both do the same exact thing; the difference is Periscope is owned by Twitter and seems to have taken the lead. Simply, they are live video streaming apps and are available on all smart phones. In the not so distant past, when breaking news took place everyone would tweet it, many stories broke via Twitter and Facebook. Pictures and videos were tweeted within minutes. It was beating the news business to the news and changed the way stories were covered. The same for Law Enforcement. We turned to Twitter and Facebook to get the information out accurately and quickly. Already that seems too slow because with the push of one button users can start streaming live video worldwide to whoever is also on the app. This gives a new meaning to instant news. It also gives Law Enforcement advantages and some disadvantages. First the advantages: It allows Law Enforcement to broadcast live from a sc ...

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Great Place to Share Campaigns

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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We saw it recently with the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. Slowly our news feed became flooded with videos of people dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. Then it started, one police department, then one fire department, before you know it thousands of first responders are accepting the challenge. We’ve talked about using social media to get the positive messages out about our agencies, and this is no different. Many times agencies get bogged down just posting the crime and arrest stories. But with this medium we have the opportunity to showcase our finest and the “other” things they do on a daily basis. Now here we are in October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month along with Domestic Violence Awareness month and again the news feed is starting to fill with lots of pink law enforcement vehicles, uniforms, and lots of awareness for those seeking help for domestic violence. The medium is a great way to spread the word, to help those in need t ...

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Next Stage in the Evolution of Public Information

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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Campaigns have been around for a long time, but are usually reserved for politics and commercial advertising.  But campaigns can be very effective in law enforcement to get messages out to those you are trying to address. It’s basic advertising, but in law enforcement it seems it takes a while to realize we have a responsibility to educate.  There are plenty of examples of issues where police departments can use a campaign to get the message out.  From back to school safety, car seat safety, not leaving children in hot cars, the list goes on.  But what makes an effective campaign?  It’s not as hard as it seems. Basically the days of putting out a press release telling people not to leave your children in a hot car doesn’t work.  It needs to go beyond that, way beyond.  Now campaigns should include social media, hands on demonstrations, colorful handout fact sheets, and video.  Video is the current trend to get messages out.  Take a look arou ...

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

What’s in a Hashtag?

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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Hashtag. A word or phrase with the # sign in front of it that helps those on social media follow trending topics.  The question is, should law enforcement use hashtags?  It’s a debate I’ve heard discussed and have discussed with others.  Honestly, like everything else, it really depends on the situation, the agency, and the purpose. Let’s get the easy one out of the way.  If there is a large scale event, incident, or case you are posting about then it makes sense to use a hashtag.  We have seen it done with tragedies like large scale shootings.  The U.S. Navy used it during the Navy Yard shooting to keep everyone updated.  But if you have a local event, is it necessary?  Many times hashtags are so story specific it only relates to your story or post and has no bearing on anyone else. Also, hashtags can have the ability to draw attention to your agency in a way that is not always flattering.   For the most part, we use hashtags sparingly.&nbs ...

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Keeping it Real

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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I recently attended a statewide PIO conference here in the state of Florida.  It amazes me to see how things have changed in a short five years.  Just five years ago, the few of us integrating social media into law enforcement were being looked at funny.  Why would we want to get into social media?  Why would we want to respond to everyone’s questions?  Why would we want to tell people everything going on?   At this conference there were 200 PIOs from all over the state of Florida and during the entire day not one of those questions came up.  Instead, everyone gave examples of recent events where they had to take to social media.  From a movie theater shooting to the recent Justin Bieber arrest in South Florida, everyone spoke about how they used social media in their situation. It brings me to what the public expects and what we are expected to give them.  Just yesterday we had a residential burglary where the victim was in the house when two individua ...

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Using Video to Deliver Your Holiday Safety Message

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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It’s that time of year again.  The time when police departments around the country put out holiday safety tips.  Usually they include: don’t talk on cell phones while walking through parking lots, don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car, and don’t carry lots of cash and credit cards.  But it seems that year after year, we in law enforcement start sounding more like Charlie Brown’s teacher, you know: wah, wah, wah, and our messages disappears into space. Well now many agencies are catching on and they are using video, holiday songs, and their own to deliver new enhanced messages.  Take for example the Hampton Police Department in Virginia; they made their own video to get the message out: The Tampa Police Department did the same. And the list goes on and on.  Here in Boca Raton, we did the same.  This year we used two videos.  The first was made by the Victoria, Texas, Police Department.  The singer is actually a sergeant and ...

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breaking News and Tweeting

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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As I sit here and scramble to write another blog that’s late, I am watching the multiple televisions we have in our office.  On them is breaking news coverage of the shooting at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. When tragic events like this happen around the country, I find myself instantly turning to Twitter to see if there is any “updated” information, even though the reporters are live at the scene. Also we start talking in the office, “How long is it going to take for the agency involved to get out in front of this?”  It’s events like this, where the information starts spinning out of control quickly and if no one gets out in front of it, misinformation could be reported.  In this situation there were multiple agencies involved given its location, Metro Police, FBI, DHS, ATF, and many more.  Almost instantly I check out the Navy’s Twitter feed and was surprised to see accurate updated information.  It wasn’t much as the situa ...

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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

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.

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