**** Warning: this post contains images depicting violence ****
Inviting the public to share their experiences of your organisation can be a very effective use of social media. But the difference between social media and PR is that you don’t control the conversation, as the New York Police Department discovered when they encouraged people to tag photos using #myNYPD.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
They were hoping for brand-friendly feel-good images like this one:
— Lyndsay Simpson (@simpson_lyndsay) April 22, 2014
What they got instead were images like these, showing police violence:
— Up the Rebels (@occbaystreet) April 23, 2014
— M.Logic (@Nycresistance) April 23, 2014
— Layla Sola (@ljsola) April 23, 2014
— TheAmerican (@TheAmericanJDM) April 23, 2014
— timeforrealchange (@josefe_r) April 23, 2014
A number of tweets contained images of whistleblower Adrian Schoolcraft, whose actions in reporting apparently institutionalised corruption in NYPD resulted in his involuntary commitment to a psychiatric ward.
— noncompliant (@earth2leo) April 22, 2014
It’s a message for anyone considering doing “PR” on social media. You can’t. (Edit: See comments for an explanation of what I mean by “PR”)