There are pages and pages of words about how important social networks are and how police, as well as other agencies, need to take advantage of this new form of communication. There are seminars, conferences, lectures and training sessions all in place now to try to encourage people to use social media.
It is easy to fall into the emperor’s new clothes syndrome. We all say how good it is and how it should be copied across the country. Have we spent some time in critically assessing what we get out of it? Have we analysed the cost benefits? Do we know if the effort being put into developing Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other Flickr and YouTube sites is actually worth it?
The use of social media has become an accepted part of communication, used on a daily and hourly basis. Our neighbourhood teams are out there using it and highlighting a whole range of issues from crime prevention advice to appeals for information. Our bosses are using it to network with other senior police personnel. Our corporate teams use it to manage emergencies and critical incidents and promote proactive operations and initiatives. But is it all just words that disappear and do little to manage reputation or improve confidence?
This is an important analysis that needs to take place if we are to ever convince the sceptics about the benefits of social media.
To help with the consideration of whether social media is the future or just a fad will be discussing it on Thursday 4 August at the 1pm #polchat. Ahead of the chat think about your responses to the following questions:
- What analysis have you done of the cost benefits of social media?
- Could you survive without it?
- Is social media the emperor’s new clothes – are you doing it because others tell you it is good?
- How do you attempt to demonstrate the benefits of using social media?
Anyone with an interest in social media or policing should take part for what should be a lively discussion around whether we should continue to invest in social media.