Criminal Justice Agencies Join The Struggle To Get Social Media Right


“Sexual assault is always avoidable.” Far short of the 140 characters allowed by Twitter, but enough to cause an immediate “twit storm.” The unfortunate tweet — generated by a consultant hired by Massachusetts to handle its Twitter communiqués — was meant to cap off the state's recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If awareness was the tweet's goal, it achieved it in spades. The tweet immediately set off a firestorm of controversy, reports Governing magazine. The New York City Police Department in April created a hashtag — #myNYPD — allowing citizens to quickly and easily post pictures to the department's Twitter page of NYPD's finest in action. The public largely responded by tweeting the department's less-than-finest moments: a veritable gallery of the city's men and women in blue clubbing, tear gassing, handcuffing and tackling Gotham citizens.

The future of public-sector communication lies in clouds and ether — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and their ilk. Public officials had not only better get used to it, they'd better get good at it, says the magazine. In Massachusetts, the state quickly verbalized its regrets for the comment on sexual assault and suggested that the author had meant “preventable” not “avoidable.”

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