I had an interesting day at a discussion about policing and the use of technology. My contribution was discussing social media, the benefits, the challenges and what the future holds. It is a subject that I have been involved with for some time and I enjoy discussing it.
It is easy to see the problems and what hasn’t been achieved rather than the benefits and what has been achieved. The time out of the office today was a chance to review the position.
Put simply social media within policing is heading towards its third phase. We started in broadcast mode where the focus was on pushing out information and hoping that people read it. The aim was to demonstrate transparency and openness and create a better understanding of the organisation. It worked well in some parts and the number of followers grew.
This was followed by the second phase where we moved from broadcast to engagement. The aim here was to develop conversations and take the next step by bothering about whether people read the information we were putting out and more than that wanted to speak to us. We started to craft content that would provoke a reaction or comments back.
So what is next? Now we need to be moving to the third phase where we use social media to provide services. Many are already trying to answer questions through social media but it is something that has happened by accident rather than by design. There is a lot to do in this area to develop and achieve success but to do this we have to think differently about social media.
One thing I do know is that the same opportunities and risks remain from when we originally moved into using social media. But if we are ready to take the step into the third phase of social media there are benefits for organisations.