The Social Media Beat

Cross Populating Platforms

Cross Populating Platforms

By: Tim Burrows
Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a recently retired sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience.

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I was a little surprised the other day when I went to our neighborhood tennis courts and I got a bunch of strange looks from people. I could tell they were whispering about me and in some cases even laughing at me!!

I finally asked someone what the problem was. “Well, sir…you’re trying to play tennis with a squash racquet and a baseball!” I didn’t really understand the problem. I was on a court; I had a racquet and a ball. So I stated the same.

Once the gentleman was finished laughing, he said, “Sure…you have a racquet, a ball, and are on a court, but you are using the wrong tools to play. Try a tennis racquet and a tennis ball for the tennis court, you’ll find it’s probably more effective.”

Sure enough…he was right.

That’s kind of how I feel when I see people using the court of social media to play Facebook with Twitter and vice versa.

Sure, you can use them both to do what you want, but you might be using the wrong tools to affect your purpose.

Twitter is by purist standards, a 140 character microblog service that allows you to say what you want, when you want, in a short little blast of information. Using an embedded link to another platform or photo or video adds some depth and richness to the little blog but people, for the most part, know what they’re getting. The simple nature of Twitter allows for rapid-fire posts that don’t inconvenience or bother anyone…because everyone is there for pretty much the same purpose. If people don’t like it, they simply un-follow or ignore you.

When you connect Twitter to post automatically to your Facebook page, then all those little blasts of information slam onto other people’s walls and bury information that they might actually want. And what about the people that have five accounts that all auto-populate each other through feeds? I just love going to my wall and seeing five of the exact same posts from the same person under different account names. Thank you very much…I just “un-liked” you.

Facebook is photos, videos, connections, games, and information and offers you so many more choices for sharing and privacy and places and on and on. On and on also includes much longer status updates: 420 characters for just a status update. So when you link Facebook to Twitter it just doesn’t fit the scope of the platform.

A link is created so that you can see the rest of the post and clicking on it will take you to the post…maybe. I have seen too many times to mention that when clicking the link, I am taken to Facebook, but I can’t figure out what it is I am supposed to be looking for because I am taken to a wall, sometimes my own wall. Also, if I’m not logged into Facebook, I have to complete that step first. But a big problem is that some people just aren’t on Facebook so the information of value isn’t going to get to them anyway.

Oh and before you tell me that you can program which information you actually want to go from one to the other, I know this can be done. But here is the problem. If I want to read you Facebook posts, I will do it on Facebook. If I want to see your tweets, I will do it on Twitter.

When I see a link with the letters http://fb…. I usually just ignore it, unless you have told me what the value of clicking the link actually is. If the first 100 characters I read on Twitter look like a status update followed by “…” and then the http://fb, I’m moving on without clicking.

Yes, I know that many people will be breathing fire as they read this and will tell me I’m wrong and may even take their time to plead their case about why I am wrong. Please do!! Remember, I used to be one of those people that thought cross populating was a good idea so I’m open to change and others opinions.

If you think I’m right, let me know…I would love to hear your thoughts on it as well. Maybe you have thoughts on it that I haven’t covered here and want to let everyone know.

Don’t play tennis with a baseball…and don’t get me started on using Twitter with your LinkedIn account!!
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    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.

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    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.

    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.

    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

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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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