We all know the NYPD is all about social media these days. Fanfic on Facebook, L train Twitter account, boasting about Times Square Elmo busts. But the NYPD is also trying to make sure that the dozens of official Twitter accounts don't give them any #myNYPD-style headaches, so the department has created Twitter School For Cops Who Can't Tweet Good.
In April, the NYPD tried to engage the Twitterverse by asking, "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook," but that became an unholy yet predictable outpouring of photographs of NYPD brutality.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Since May, the department's top brass has endured training unlike any they have taken since the Police Academy—Twitter School."
At the most recent course, earlier this month at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Midtown Manhattan, 16 commanders spent six hours hunched over keyboards and listening to lectures from the department's social media team.
"What is Twitter?" read one PowerPoint slide. Another explained how to send a tweet.
Good ideas: Dad humor. Using hashtags. Animal rescues.
"A lot of people seem to like when you post kittens or dogs," said Detective Jeff Thompson.
— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) July 17, 2014
— NYPD 73rd Precinct (@NYPD73Pct) July 23, 2014
— NYPD 73rd Precinct (@NYPD73Pct) July 11, 2014
— NYPDPaws (@NYPDPaws) August 13, 2014
— NYPD 10th Precinct (@NYPD10Pct) June 30, 2014
— NYPD 45th Precinct (@NYPD45Pct) August 15, 2014
P.S. @NYPD33pct—start a Twitter for the 33rd Precinct cat:
— NYPD 33rd Precinct (@NYPD33Pct) August 8, 2014
More from the WSJ:
Bad ideas: Using military time. Seeming insensitive. Falling for scams. "If a Nigerian prince contacts you on Twitter, please do not engage," said lead trainer Martha Norrick, the NYPD's director of citizen and workforce engagement who worked for President Barack Obama's campaign.
Ms. Norrick displayed what she considered an ideal tweet posted by a police precinct in San Francisco: "Officers just arrested a naked man in the bison paddock in GG Park. The bison seemed unimpressed."
"It is the perfect kind of funny," she said. "This naked man is not named, we are not sharing a photo of him. Do not share photos of naked men on Twitter."
It's unclear where the force stands on sharing photos of naked women; maybe that's in the 34-page handbook.
The cops are also getting a lesson in sensitivity—like, don't use the precinct Twitter to troll Vision Zero activists. But Deputy Commissioner Zachary Tumin, who leads the NYPD's social media strategy, said, "We are going to break china. As long as you're not throwing dishes." Uh, The Replacements would totally throw dishes:
— NYPD 112th Precinct (@NYPD112Pct) September 18, 2014