Lessons from NYPD Twitter scandal: Careful when asking Internet’s opinion

The Twitterverse was abuzz last Tuesday evening after the New York City Police Department made what it thought was a harmless request to its followers: post pictures that include NYPD officers and use the #MyNYPD hashtag.

Much to the NYPD’s surprise and chagrin, the simple tweet brought on a torrent of criticism from the Internet. The result was national coverage of hundreds of photos depicting apparent police brutality by NYPD officers, which individuals diligently tweeted with the hashtag #myNYPD.

“The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange, and this is an open dialogue that is good for our city,” NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster told Ars.

Despite the NYPD’s spin, the rush of negative imagery and commentary from the Twitterverse is not without historical precedent; bungled public relations campaigns abound on Twitter. A look back at two corporate campaigns and two personal campaigns that sought to enlist the Twitter community’s comments—and the backlashes that ensued—provides evidence that public relations folks would be wise to tread lightly when soliciting reactions on Twitter.

The negative associations such comments evoke can have serious repercussions for a brand’s reputation. “Once you have a negative association it’s almost impossible to just remove the link from people’s minds,” marketing professor Gavan Fitzsimons told CNN Money.

The obvious take-away is that, given the Internet’s relative open architecture for free expression, those wishing to exercise some control over their public image might want to avoid such open-ended Internet queries.

We know that won’t happen though, don’t we.


Here’s a sample of the negative responses tagged with #myNYPD.



Warning – the images below typically portray aggression and violence.



Source: Ars Technica - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

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