Social Fail – Elicia Gibson

The New York Police Department took to Twitter in an attempt to create a positive discussion. The needed to show the police force as a positive entity who wasn’t as “scary” or “threatening” as people envisioned. Individuals were supposed to post a photo with their favorite police member of the NYPD. They had to share it to their followers with the hashtag #myNYPD and tag @NYPDNews. The best photo would be featured on the NYPD Facebook page. At first the tweets were going great. People posted photos with captions like, “my photo from my ride along with the boys from the 90th pct.” Then, it took a horrible turn.

Negative reaction to #myNYPD

Negative reaction to #myNYPD

@OccupyWallStNYC posted a photo of alleged police brutality stating, “Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time. #myNYPD.” This started a rampage of photos from multiple people showing photos of them or others being allegedly abused by the NYPD. The negative started outweighing the good. @OccupyWallStNYC called for their followers to post their favorite (a.k.a. negative) photos of the NYPD attacking them. It took off even more.

Photos went from the NYPD to other police forces across the United States. Other hashtags such as #myLAPD, for Los Angeles Police Department, and #myCPD for the Chicago Police Department were created, with #myNYPD skyrocketing to the second nationally trending topic on April 22nd, 2014. This showed that not only were people upset with the police in New York City but all over the country. Other police departments suddenly were taking flack with unwanted publicity caused by the NYPD Twitter account.

The hashtag, #myNYPD, is still being used today and is no where near positive. People still are highlighting alleged mistreatment from New York City police officers on Twitter in what seems to be daily tweets. Users show their disappointment in the police force meant to protect then using photos, videos, and others as evidence to these alleged abuses. It is safe to say the hashtag originally meant to bring comradery between the NYPD and the people they protect only gave way to the distain and anger that people wanted to show but needed a push to do so.

This is definitely classified as a social fail, hands down. I understand the need of the NYPD to show they aren’t against anyone and are there to protect and serve. The fact that they chose to use such a public forum where there would be no control on their part is beyond me. The NYPD should have recognized that people are unhappy with how law enforcement is being ran, such as the Trayvon Martin case. They needed to realize that the feedback would become negative relatively quick. Political unrest is a huge part of the world right now and given social media’s sociopolitical nature, what did they expect?

Asking people to also use photos with their tweets is only asking them to add fuel to the fire. It allowed people to bring proof to what they were saying. I would have suggested not doing the campaign at all but in an effort to better it, I would have just found positive pictures people had used before and feature them. Allowing individuals to add their own media gave free range to post whatever they desired. This would have gone better than what had happened.



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Heine, C. (2014, April 22). NYPD’s Feel-Good Twitter Attempt Goes Awry. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from

Ochman, B. (2014, May 16). #BrandFailures Are Epidemic on Twitter, So Stop With the Q&As. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from

Phillip, A. (2014, April 22). Well, the #MyNYPD hashtag sure backfired quickly. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from