NYPD Twitter Campaign Turns Ugly
A New York Police Department campaign to engage people on Twitter via the #myNYPD hashtag backfired in a big way.
The New York Police Department learned a hard lesson this week — be careful what you ask for. Especially when dealing with a public forum like Twitter.
The trouble started at around 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, when the department took to its official Twitter account to launch a little contest intended to engage the public on social media. “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook,” the department tweeted.
They were probably expecting a few good-natured snaps showcasing New York’s Finest in action. But things didn’t exactly go as planned.
It started out innocent enough, of course. Some users posted nice photos of themselves with officers.
But when the #myNYPD hashtag went viral, thousands of others took it as an opportunity to expose police aggression by sharing embarrassing and unflattering photos of New York City officers fighting with members of the public.
One heavily retweeted photo posted by an Occupy Wall Street supporter shows a police officer pointing his gun at a dog a homeless man lies on the ground having a seizure. Others show police officers holding people to the ground, pulling hair, punching, and sleeping on the subway.
The embarrassment comes as the NYPD works to ramp up its efforts on Twitter. Just last week, five officers were given the go-ahead to begin tweeting news about their precincts.
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis told The New York Times that the snafu would not deter the department from engaging with citizens through social media in the future.
“You take the good with the bad,” he said.
NYP wanted some Tweets,
From homes and from the streets,
They stood for pics on their beats,
But they suffered some defeats.
People Tweeted police being rude,
Cops with bad attitudes,
One was seen punching a dude,
Showing behavior that’s crude.
Others showed cops at their best,
Taking photos at their request,
Showing badges on their proud chests,
Smiling and talking in jests.
Cops are not basically mean,
Or totally cruel and obscene,
When they arrive on the scene,
If you know what I mean.
They’re there to protect each one,
When threatened by a knife or a gun,
From bad guys they will not run,
They work ’till their job is done.
So when you see a cop,
Outside a store or shop,
It will not hurt to stop,
They might be a mom or pop.
They’re people just like you,
With a hard job to do,
Dressed in NYPD blues,
They’re heroes through and through!
God bless them one and all,
When they are on a call,
Not one of them should fall,
While they stand proud and tall.
© 2013 Ronald J. Yarosh
All rights reserved