Saturday, 9 April 2016

Some longer notes on the #EPtwitterSummit idea

For the active Essex Police Officers on Twitter, I've a theory that it's possible to reach 3,000 followers or 2% of the Community each officer serves.

This is my purpose for creating the #EPtwitterSummit and yours too if you wish to get involved.

I've helped only a handful of the officers in Essex - all I know, I could do a whole lot more if I'm allowed to try and get a conversation going.

Perhaps it's just the right time to put this idea into practice, what with the new Community Policing Teams having just been announced? You can read my feedback at a previous post (8 Apr 16).

Let me make one thing very clear - I'm not going out to pester those officers on twitter and make them tweet - that's something they must feel a need and a passion for.

If they've taken the first step to say, Hey I'll give it a go that's a  great start. If they've followed that up with some good tweets and got some followers and discussions, then brilliant. And if they are inspired enough to want to get better, with a little extra help - then no one could ask for more.

I've also seen a few established tweeting officers post on how they've not been that active and want to give it another go. And I've already seen a few officers express a desire to get better and make more interesting tweets.

The slide above came out of a twitter thread with a few officers (like @PcSiPhillips, @EssexChiefInsp Leigh Norris and @SInspVanZanten).

On making the announcement tweet, I posted, Ideas now open for the #EPtwitterSummit - this may work and it may not, but hey let's give it a go, ideas welcome ..

Even the best ideas can fall flat very fast and that's what the three options are all about.

1, Meet in Person - this is very hard to do for just two people let alone a larger group. It costs time and travel. And in my view is very ineffective. [most of my meetings these days are face to face video calls to the US, Canada and a few other places, rarely in the UK]. Sure it's nice to sit in the same room and drink coffee, but it's old school.

2, Meet in a group video call. In the age of the internet with quad core processors and wifi everywhere, this option is very easy and efficient. I use zoom.us where I can fill the room with a 100 peope on video and as it's a unified system, you can join by dialling a UK landline number to listen in and talk too. To state the obvious, this is very efficient while cutting out all travel time.

3, Text chat on Twitter. This method of a discussion using an agreed hashtag has been around for ten years, it's so outdated. But I accept it's still used today and mildly efficient when you have no access to realtime audio or video. An example is the #wecops tag that's used every week. [If I was running #wecops it would be a Live at YouTube video panel discussion talking about and field questions from user's tweets.

One important factor, to survey how everyone uses twitter whether that's by desktop, tablet or mobile. And if mobile whether Android or iOS.

Which leads to how the tweets and discussion can be as animated as possible:
  • 2d - text, photo or a gif 
  • 3d - audio and video
  • 4d - Live audio and video
I see twitter as just the tip of the iceberg to what a follower can potentially receive. Anything you tweet can have a link to something else. I'm delighted to see so many officers giving video a try. Yet there are still too many barriers between the tweeter and the audience.

If you are in any doubt, just imagine standing face to face with someone in the street or sat across a table - would would you say to them and how would you say it? One recent example was the Live at Facebook video series from Kerry Blakeman from West Mids Police. Very natural and informal discussions, but all with an objective in mind (post 10 Mar 16).

On 25 April 2016, the next #SMILEcon will be held in Alexandria, Virginia. There is a session on the use of video and live video (6pm UK time, watch here). On the panel will be Supt Kerry Blakeman and PC Mark Walsh VineCop from the UK (tweet and slide).

I sent a quote, it read:
We now have in 2016, technology that far exceeds people's ability to understand and therefore use it effectively - that's not just education, but playing to 'personalities, education and exploiting your strengths

About the 3,000 and the 2% ..

There are four officers on twitter who have more than 3,000 followers 9as 9 April 2016):
  1. @EssexChiefInsp ..  5.753 .. Grays 160k = 3.6%
  2. @EPAdamPipe     ..  4,801 .. Essex, UK 1.7m = 0.3%
  3. @PcAlanConran   ..  3,059 .. Chelmsford 170k = 1.8%
  4. @PcSiPhillips       ..  3,014 .. Thurrock 160k =  1.9%

There are another 24 officers with over 1,000 followers. The way I see it, the more followers you have, the more chance you have on getting your message out. Any social media relies on sharing, so if you get shared by someone with a ton of followers so much the better.

To explain the data above, and this is very loose data, we have Grays, essex with a population of 160,000 which means a follower number of 5,753/160,000 = 3.6%. And so on.

If I had a wish it would be to get some officers like @DetSuptHooper to the necessary level. Based on the Borough of Basildon having a population of 180,000, 2% would equal 3,600.

Harlow (with a population of 85,000, 2% being 1,700), is another area I would like to support.There are quite a few hard working tweeters in that area. To name just a few, we have:
What's the best way to get these followers? I have no way of knowing for sure what help Essex Police officers receive or how much time they have to tweet. What I do know - I'm available to help.

I also have no real idea on what opinions in the way of comments that are sent to each and every officer. In many ways, that's the whole reason for the #EPtwitterSummit idea. An equal footing for everyone to gain something ..

The News .. One fascinating area is how an officer tweet or photo very much gets reported in the press.

PC Alan Conran has about 50 results in the Essex Chronicle (with 26 stories). Insp Paul Maleary even has his own column in the Harlow Star called On the Beat (22 Stories).

And what seems to the fastest and preferred method for reporters - Twitter Direct Messages. I'm happy to debate this point without pointing fingers to or from any reporters or officers. If you want to find out for yourself just visit Cafe Nero in Chelmsford High Street every Thursday morning where you can find an essex Chronicle reporter.

I will get this posted and tweeted ...

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