Law Enforcement Takes Social Media Seriously

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

As covered by Government Technology, law enforcement is taking social media seriously.  A recent survey of law enforcement agencies shows most agencies use social media, and almost all agencies are interested in using sites like Facebook and Twitter to solve crimes. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Center for Social Media released its third-annual social media survey on Oct. 2, revealing social media is a fast-growing trend in law enforcement.

Nearly 62 percent of the 600 agencies polled claimed to have a written social media policy, whereas two years ago only 35 percent claimed to have such a policy in place. More agencies said they believe social media helps improve community relations and help solve crimes than two years ago.

Overall, it appears that almost all law enforcement agencies are either using social media or interested, with 92 percent of agencies claiming to use social media sites, with nearly 70 percent of those not using social media planning to begin using it within the next year.


Social Media Trends in Government for 2010

What trends will materialize for social media in government for 2010?   An article by David Armano on Harvard Business Publishing outlines six key social media trends he sees for 2010:

Social media, less social.  Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  People will begin paring back their social media interactions, focusing on those delivering the greatest personal value.

Corporations scale up.  Companies and government agencies will ramp up their social media tactics, moving beyond advertising to serving customers and constituents.  The example he gives is Best Buy’s Twelpforce, a customer service group providng tech answers over Twitter.

Organizations will expand social media interactions through enticements of games and incentives.  The example given is Foursquare where people are rewarded for visiting places frequently (you can even be “mayor” of your favorite restaurant or watering hole if you visit more frequently than others).

Organizations will create more formal social media policies.  As agencies and companies allow and/or adopt social media interaction, policies for its use will become more clearly defined and enforced.

Mobile devices drive social interaction.  With companies enforcing stronger social media policies and sales of smart phones skyrocketing, employees will turn to mobile devices to get their “fix.”

Sharing no longer means email. With new tools allowing for the broadcast of articles and websites over networks such as Twitter or Facebook, the email distribution list will be out, and the sharing network list will be in.   

While government agencies will likely lag behind corporate America in adopting certain aspects of social media, a desire to connect will drive personal behavior, make government workings more transparent, and open opportunities for vendors to better interact with buyers.  It will be interesting to see what 2010 has in store.

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