According to this article in Burnsville Patch, the Burnsville Police Department is now on Twitter. While social media can be an extremely powerful tool, far too often organizations fail to leverage it properly, especially within the public sector.
The Burnsville Patch article notes Twitter use among Dakota County police departments is non-existent aside from the Apple Valley PD who has been using the social network since July of 2011. They have 51 tweets in that time, most of which aren’t terribly informative, interesting or useful. While a particular organization may want to keep their social media presence dry, it doesn’t do much to build an audience or get attention outside their little world. Seriously? Reminders that it’s the first day of school and to watch for kids or notifications about monthly severe weather sirens? Come on, you can do better than that.
- Take for example Lt. Eric Roeske the Minnesota State Patrol Public Information Officer. His social media presence is dry and boring but it’s incredibly informative. Providing details on crashes as they happen can let you avoid crash areas and know what’s going on in your area.
While not an official public sector Twitter account, Officer Phil knows how to bring some real humor into the difficult work he does. Take for example these more recent gems:
Shots fired, two down. Crowd brings beer to drink while they watch us tend to the victims
For Police Appreciation Day, instead of saying thanks or buying lunch, could all of y’all just… not break any laws today? That’d be sweet.
So, before Burnsville PD jumps into the Twitterverse they should really take a minute to think about how they want to portray themselves online. They could take the the funny police report/Officer Phil track or go with Lt. Roeske’s method instead. As long as they avoid what the AVPD has done so far and makes it interesting and useful this would be an excellent addition to the local twittersphere instead of yet another complete and utter waste of everyone’s time and energy.