The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Monday, February 08, 2016

10,000 Characters for a Tweet?

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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In January 2016, many tech media outlets began reporting that Twitter would be increasing their character limit for tweets from 140 characters to 10,000 characters (see this article from Re/code). While an official announcement from Twitter has yet to be made, the potential change is something about which law enforcement agencies should be giving some thought now. The 140-character limit has been Twitter’s unique hallmark since its inception; Twitter purists curse the very thought of a change, predicting that the conversion will be a failed attempt to make the platform “more Facebook-like” and that it will result in the loss of the short, live-update feel beloved by so many. All may not be lost for the Twitter traditionalists, however. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, a source with knowledge of the potential change has said that Twitter plans to retain the same “look and feel” of the timeline. Tweets that exceed 140 characters would require the user to click to expand to ...

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spreading Cheer – and Safety – this Holiday Season

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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Who doesn’t love the holidays in New York City? Rockefeller Center, ice skating in Central Park, Times Square...but for us at the NYPD, this time of year is also a busy season, as thousands of people flock to the city to enjoy the special holiday atmosphere. Public safety always comes first, and we have been using our 113 official NYPD Twitter accounts, Facebook page, and Instagram account to remind New Yorkers that although the city has never been safer, we are out there 24/7, so that they can enjoy their holidays. We’ve also learned that there are grinches that surface this time of year, so we are supplying our accounts with a few seasonal crime prevention tips. These include graphics warning New Yorkers about people stealing packages from lobbies and phony IRS debt collectors. This year also presented new challenges with some popular holiday gifts. Therefore, if you asked for an unmanned aerial system (drone) or hoverboard, you can expect to see cool GIFs from the NYPD about how to avoi ...

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Twitter Tip: Photo Tagging

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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Are you using Twitter’s “photo tagging” feature? If not, you should be. This post will tell you first what it is, then outline the many benefits it can bring to your agency, and finally, tell you how you do it. What does “photo tagging” look like? What does it do? Twitter allows up to ten accounts to be “tagged” in each tweet with photos. This is separate and distinct from a “mention” of an account in the text of the tweet itself. So, rather than using up your 140 characters to mention various Twitter accounts, you can save space and simply tag them in a photo. When a user is “tagged” in your tweet, they receive a notification. Here’s what a tweet with tags looks like; note that you can click on the “5 others” text and bring up the full list of all ten accounts: Why should you use photo tags? It’s often easy for a tweet to get overlooked in our timelines. Since Twitter sends a notification when ...

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Officer Elf on the Shelf Returns to Sarasota Police Department Headquarters

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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For the second year in a row, Officer Elf on the Shelf has returned to provide backup to the Sarasota Police Department Officers in the City of Sarasota, Florida. So far in 2015, Officer Elf was spotted at the airport waiting to catch a flight from the North Pole, was sworn in by Chief Bernadette DiPino, and was caught riding shotgun with a Sarasota Police Officer. The idea for Officer Elf on the Shelf came up in December 2014 when I was brainstorming ideas to connect our community to our officers even more in a holiday way through our social media accounts. December is a very busy month for the men and women of the Sarasota Police Department with holiday parades, tree lightings, a boat parade along the Gulf of Mexico, and our annual Shop with a Cop, all which involve officers and our community. I wanted to not only have our community in Sarasota be part of all the holiday festivities but I also wanted our followers on social media to see that we have a sense of humor and we love this time as year just as ...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

#IACP2015 Recap: When You Lose One of Your Own

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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The final day of the 2015 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition's Public Information Officers Track began with a presentation on how to handle a line of duty death from a PIO perspective, delivered by Public Information Director Jacki Kelley and Digital Communications Manager Dionne Waugh of the Jefferson County (CO) Sheriff's Office. Any time an agency loses one of its own, it is an unspeakable tragedy. For the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, that tragedy occurred twice in twelve months. On January 26, 2014, Sergeant Dave Baldwin was struck and killed while riding his police motorcycle by an elderly wrong-way driver. And on January 3, 2015, Sergeant Sean Renfro was struck and killed by a vehicle while he was on an accident scene in a snowstorm. These were the first line of duty deaths for the Sheriff's Office in more than 20 years. Unlike the other deputies lost before, though, the introduction of social media and instantaneous communication made these tragic events an overwhelming national story from ...

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Go Big or Go Home: NYPD's Twitter Strategy

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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In New York City (NYC), we go big or go home. In a little over a year the New York Police Department (NYPD) has gone from 0 to 100 in the world of social media, quite literally. At the beginning of 2014, the NYPD had one centralized Twitter account; today we boast 109 accounts (with close to 500,000 followers among them), each serving as the voice of an individual commander or chief. The accounts are run exclusively by the commanding officers and uniformed members of their staff. While the guidelines and training are set by our office at 1 Police Plaza, the content is not. Commanding officers are encouraged to speak in their own voices and use these accounts to engage with their communities regarding specific issues relevant in their fields. Before you rush to open 100 new Twitter accounts for your agency, it’s important to note that large-scale operations are not necessarily the best option for everyone. For most municipalities, one account on multiple platforms can serve as a great one-stop-shop for ...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#LESM and the News Media: Conducting a Survey to Determine Your Effectiveness

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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Have you ever considered distributing a survey to your local news agencies to ask them their opinion on how you’re using social media? If you’re a social media manager for your agency, you are likely to regularly interact with traditional media outlets on social networks. Perhaps you use social media to distribute news releases, or maybe you answer their questions during breaking news incidents on Twitter. But how do you know if what you are doing is actually meeting their needs? For those of you who know me or have heard me speak, you know that one of my constant refrains is using social media to reach a stage of “social symbiosis” with the traditional news media. Here at the Palo Alto Police Department in California, our relationship with the news media is better than it’s ever been in my 17-year career, and I firmly believe it is as a direct result of how we have used Twitter to share information in a timely, responsive, bidirectional way. But earlier this year, ...

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Using Vine to Solicit Tips and Reach Out to the Community

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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By now Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are commonplace names among law enforcement agencies. However, there is a variety of other social media technologies that are worth considering in any communications outreach strategy to your respective communities. Vine, a short-form video sharing service owned by Twitter, is becoming a new valuable tool for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department and our Investigations Unit. Over the past few months, CPD has posted multiple videos to our Vine account asking for the public’s assistance in identifying suspects. Like its parent company, Twitter, Vine allows administrators to add brief descriptions that can feature searchable hashtags and other valuable contact information. One of our videos below , has been “looped,” or watched, approximately 1,600 times, giving residents an opportunity to contact us with any potential information about the suspect.   The CPD has determined that the Vine platform works we ...

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Using Social Media During the Snowstorm

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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Over the past week, APD has been busy with the normal social media posts on Twitter and Facebook with traffic reports, road conditions, and crash locations. We also took the time to humanize our officers and build the city's brand by being creative in strategically choosing iconic locations throughout the city that people love to see and hear about. The first post was simply a Texas flag viewable from the inside of Globe Life Park. This post netted over 1 million views (1,140,736) in less than one day, with more than 42,000 likes, comments, and shares. It even caught the attention of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. We also took an amazing photo of AT&T Stadium when the snow was coming down at a fast pace, which created a beautiful backdrop, and reached almost 200,000 people and had over 5,000 likes. The next post was of a snowman that was decorated with APD gear by the family of one of our officers. The post reached well over 200,000 people and generated over 14,000 likes, comments, and sh ...

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New Media in Criminal Justice Education: Perpetually Behind the Curve

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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Jim Reynolds is Academic Program Chair for Online Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.  He retired as a Deputy Chief from the Melbourne Police Department after a 27 year career.  Jim holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida and is a graduate of the 104th Administrative Officers Course, Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville.  He blogs for his program at http://blogs.fit.edu/blog/category/academics/online-learning/criminal-matters/ and is on Facebook as Jim Reynolds, Florida Tech Community. The last ten years have seen a virtual tsunami of social media and web activity throughout American and international culture.  Law enforcement and other elements of the criminal justice system were as affected as any segment of society, and possibly more.  We have often been slow to respond to this paradigm shift, but our traditionally staid and conservative professio ...

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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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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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