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.”