The third Global Police Tweet-a-thon is just behind us. According to Bright Planet the third #poltwt saw over 15,000 original tweets from 1,000 unique users. A map of the officially registered users is on Google.
Next Global Police Tweet-a-thon is November 1st!
History in the making
March 22nd of this year was an epic day for law enforcement. It was the day over 200 law enforcement agencies all across the western hemisphere took to Twitter for 24 hours or a portion thereof to tweet about their work. With the hashtag #poltwt, we trended from New Zealand west to Australia, across Europe and then from the east coast of North America in a wave across to the west coast.
On November 1st, will make history one again. In March, we reached over 11M people with 48,842 tweets in 23 different languages. We hope to make the next #poltwt ever bigger.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov 1st until 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov 2nd, in your local timezone, tweet any or all of the 24 hours.
The overall purpose of the tweet-a-thon is to call attention to policing as well as to police use of social media. Each agency sets its own goals beyond that and tweets whatever portion of the 24 hours that works for you.
The only “rule” is that ever tweet contains the hashtag #poltwt
To sign up:
Email Lauri Stevens at email@example.com
Use subject line: #poltwt
In the message, indicate your Twitter name, your agency name, your physical address (so we can accurately place you on the Google map). If you plan to tweet as an individual officer, give us all of the above and also let us know you’re tweeting as yourself. All emails should come from your government/police address.
Missing in action
I recently posted about the increasing number of ways that social media is being used for social good – including saving the lives of human rights workers.
Now social media – and Twitter in particular – is becoming the mainstream way of locating missing people.
I was slightly surprised when I reviewed five UK police Facebook pages recently and found that a third of the most popular posts related to missing persons.
@BrightPlanet were kind enough to share the data they harvested from the recent Global Police Tweetathon and I found that 330 of the 9,836 tweets from UK forces sent on 22 March this year were also about missing persons.
It’s no surprise that police use social media for this purpose though.
I’ve come across two successful outcomes in the last month.
West Midlands Police find “escaped” patient
A 75 year old man with dementia wandered away from a hospital in Birmingham last Saturday.
@WMPolice were contacted by the hospital at 2 p.m. and immediately posted requests for information on Twitter and Facebook at the same time as they started a major police search.
Less than an hour later, a member of the public who saw the social media messages noticed a man matching the description leaning against a wall two miles from the hospital and phoned the police who picked up the missing patient and returned him safe and sound.
Full details here.
Twitter helps Belfast woman find missing mum
A Belfast woman with Alzheimer’s Disease went out to walk her dogs at 9 o’clock in the morning on 3rd April this year.
By teatime, she had still not returned home and her family were sick with worry.
Her daughter, who was travelling back from Donegal, felt helpless because she could not get a good phone signal, so decided to post an appeal on Twitter and Facebook.
She urged her followers to retweet and share the picture message.
The message was re-tweeted hundreds of time and was crucially seen by a local resident:
“I was sitting in the living room, watching TV, and I noticed a woman walking past the window with two dogs,” she said.
“She seemed a wee bit dazed and kind of caught my attention but I didn’t think anything of it.
Literally, 30 seconds later I was on Twitter and I saw a re-tweet with a photo of the woman I’d just seen.
I jumped in the car, drove round and caught up with her.”
She gently coaxed the woman into coming into the house for a cup of tea while her husband rang the worried daughter and the police.
Coincidentally both the daughter and the woman who found her mother were both used to being given a hard time by their husbands for being Twitter addicts.
I reckon they can tweet as often as they like from now on.
Full details on the BBC Northern Ireland website here.
Several police agencies have held tweet-a-thons or tweet-the-beat events to create awareness of police work call attention to issues. A few of us have been talking a while about holding an event where police agencies everywhere could have whatever model of tweet-a-thon they want but on the same day and time in an effort to increase visiblity even more. That date for the Global Police Tweet-a-thon has been set for March 22nd of 2013 beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing for 24 hours.
Any police agency can join and tweet any portion of the 24 hour period.
Early entries are from all over Texas and the rest of the U.S. with a few committed from Canada and the UK. Our hope is to get agencies from as many countries involved as possible.
The Mesa County Sheriff in Colorado is one of the agency’s to throw its sheriff’s hat in early. PIO Heather Benjamin explained it this way, “The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office hopes to share a small piece of Western Colorado with the world and highlight the positive aspects of law enforcement. In addition, we look forward to partnering with law enforcement globally through social media. Exciting times!”
And in Louisiana, the Chief of Police in Thibodaux said he’s promoting transparency in policing actions and furthering proactive social media integration. Chief Scott Silveri said his agency will participate in the tweet-a-thon because, “Our participation in the global tweet-a-thon is based on the hope that other agencies break from the reactive isolationist nature of traditional law enforcement, and begin realizing the benefits of sharing timely and relevant information through social media.”
To participate, just email Lauri Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org with your agency name, contact name and email address. Then mark your calendar for March 22nd. We’ll be in touch with the hashtag to be used for the event.
Click on the flier below to download a .pdf version.