Prepared Boston Police were On Spot Online during Bombing Aftermath

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The impressive work of the Boston Police responding to last Monday’s bombing extended to its social media presence as well.  As Yar Bar-tur’s article on Mashable points out, the success on social media was not a new thing for the BPD.


The 40,000 followers that the Boston Police had on Twitter prior to the bombing was the result of time and effort invested into community relations by the department.  Since engagement with its constituency had already been established, the BPD online was prepared to communicate effectively via social media during this crisis.


A few highlights of Boston Police Department’s online activity:


Correcting errors in reporting– As events unfolded last week, information was flowing freely through social media and traditional means.  The BPD monitored the information diligently and used its presence on social media to make sure that as many people as possible had accurate information.  For example, shortly after the bombing took place, the Boston Police Department announced via Twitter that, contrary to various reports, no arrests had yet taken place. This announcement was retweeted more than 11,000 times.


Letting readers know what they need– When police began closing in on one of the suspects, some sources were tweeting information from police scanners that had the potential to put officers in danger. The Boston PD firmly but politely tweeted a reminder that such information should not be publicly shared. This tweet was retweeted more than 20,000 times, further supporting the department’s efforts.


Leading the investigation– The department was on top of things online throughout the crisis.  They distributed good information and negated bad information in a timely manner.  They were so effective in fact that when the bombing suspect was finally apprehended, local reporters waited on a tweet from the Boston Police Department before making the official announcement.


The ability of the Boston Police Department to engage so effectively with its online audience during this highly stressful time, is evidence of the level of preparation that the department had made prior to the crisis under the leadership of Police Commissioner Davis and his team.  The Department’s investment into actively using social media to connect with its community reaped big dividends during recent events.


How did you use social media to follow the events in Boston last week?  Share in a comment below.



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