Posts Tagged ‘walsall’

The value of Social Media in neighbourhoods and appealing to communities

Posted on 24th January 2013 by

Yesterday a sad thing happened; 2 children went missing. It was presumed at the time that they’d gone of their own volition and they were later found well and safe, but none the less it was an awful thing to happen.

This all happened in Darlaston, 5 miles from my house, in Wednesfield and as such when the press release went out appealing for witnesses we posted it to the WV11 site and Facebook page. We were aware that while the children weren’t strictly from the WV11 area our readership expands beyond our borders, and friends,and friends of friends,  would most definitely cross over into Darlaston and the surrounding areas.

We posted the photo from the appeal along with the copied the police release verbatim,  all we added to the post was two words at the end “please share”

And share people did.

Within an hour 565 people had re-posted the news direct from our facebook page and less than 2 hours later that number had jumped to 1984!

It seems to me 2 things had happened to make the numbers jump like that  – every parent that uses our site could empathise with the  situation these parents were in, no one can imagine, or would want to imagine, what it feels like to find your child missing like that, and going on the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” everyone wanted to help raise awareness to bring these children home safely.

The other thing that happened was we were there, we were local and we we part of the community and we appealed to them directly with the “please share”!

Darlaston falls under Walsall Council  but it is fairly close to the border with Wolverhampton. Both Councils picked up the police release and shared to their facebook pages, Walsall’s post was shared 20 times, Wolverhampton’s 136.

The local radio station, Free Radio also picked up on it and shared to their page too, Their story was shared 550 times.

Looking at those figures it seems clear that being community based and very local really had an impact on the way the community interacted with the appeal.

The important thing here of course is that the children were found and returned home safe and well,  but as an observation it is interesting how much being part of a community can make a difference

 

 

Community building through social media – how police building relationships online can get you support when it really matters

Posted on 14th February 2012 by

Screenshot: PC Stanley's Twitter page

Recently I was having a conversation with Nick about the value of social media, the community links you can build using Twitter and blogs and the value this has in the real world, when I remembered the story of PC Richard Stanley’s blog.

PC Stanley is a blogging police officer and Twitter user from Walsall. He uses these platforms to talk to the “locals” about his job and help give plain English examples of how the police work and why things are done in a certain way sometimes. I read his blog, follow him on Twitter and have personally never found him to be anything less than factual and informative with some nice humorous banter, creme eggs, #foxwatch and competitions thrown into the mix.

A couple of months ago he wrote a piece in response to a news article in the national press where a suspected burglar was shot during an incident and the property owner who had shot him was arrested.

It was a factual piece that explained, from a policing point of view, why sometimes the “victim” of the burglary can also end up being arrested along with the burglar in cases like this. It was written so that it would be easy for the public to digest – and I felt it was. It was informative without being patronising and a good insight into how a decision to arrest someone could be made.

However, what wasn’t easy for regular readers to digest was what happened next. His blog’s comment section exploded with anonymous commentators condescending and, in some cases, outright insulting PC Stanley. It wasn’t an argument about the accuracy of any details in the blog but an inference he was doing something wrong by engaging in this way and “toeing the party line.”

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Introducing social media surgeries – notes from Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands

Posted on 9th October 2010 by

hyperwm 6

Last Wednesday I spent a great afternoon at Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands, an event in Walsall bringing together a mix of local government officials, hyperlocal bloggers and people interested in open data.

I ran a session introducing social media surgeries for voluntary and community groups, looking at how surgeries can help active citizens tell stories and collaborate online.

The session was slanted towards encouraging people to run their own surgeries and to make use of socialmediasurgery.com to promote, manage and evaluate events.

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