Social media tools have hit the ground running with the popularity social media has gained from today’s youth. Twitter reportedly has over 500 million active users since launch in July 2006, and Facebook reportedly having over 900 million active users. Due to the ever increasing popularity of these social media platforms, Businesses have begun harnessing these popular social media tools to achieve their objectives; however has there been substantial success? The short answer – yes.
Look at the Queensland Police service. The Queensland Police have adopted using social media tools such as Facebook to provide important public safety information and public interest in a timely manner to the people on Facebook who ‘Like’ their profile. The Queensland Police service also has used Twitter to communicate and distribute information to their followers, similarly to their Facebook page. Although the Queensland Police service is not exactly a company or business, they are harnessing social media to help the community by posting reports on Facebook for people to read, share and like. The Queensland Police service has adopted many of the Wikinomics business models as follows:
- Peering: Although the community are not required to post their situations or emergencies on the QPS’s Facebook and Twitter pages due to emergency response time issues, QPS are able to actively communicate important information to the public; which then in turn can generate communication and be shared further by those who read the posts. This has been achieved by removing the option of Facebook users being able to post onto their profile’s wall.
- Being Open: QPS are publicly sharing information about events and emergencies that they are responding to everyday. This creates a greater relationship with their community through social media.
- Sharing: Similarly to the above point ‘Being Open’, Police are sharing the emergencies they are responding to everyday with their followers; and also status updates on traffic and car accidents.
- Acting Global: The QPS is not acting globally; however their use of social media can be viewed by the public in other states and countries if required. This can include family members overseas subscribing to the QPS posts to see what is going on in the state their family members may possibly live in.
Although the Queensland Police service is not yet harnessing the full potential of social media, a risk has already risen due to their profiles on social media platforms. The QPS had problems for a while where the younger generation would post onto the QPS profile’s wall and expect the police to acknowledge and react to it. This required the QPS to remove the ability for the public to post onto their wall; clearly states their phone number in case of an emergency or an inquiry.
Without harnessing social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, the Queensland Police Service would not be able to effectively update the public in such a timely matter about emergency situations.