by: Liz Sanz

#myNYPD Goes Viral, Just Not for the Right Reason

The New York Police Department is one of oldest and largest municipal police forces in the United States, established in 1845 and still around today. Over the years, the NYPD has received a lot of negativity from younger generations due to their aggressive tactics and known use of force. As a result, it had become a goal of the force to build a better relationship with this millennial target audience.

In April of 2014, the NYPD made an attempt to reach out to this younger generation through the use of a Twitter campaign involving the hashtag #myNYPD. The campaign blew up on Twitter within a matter of hours, just not in the way the New York Police Department intended, resulting in the ultimate #SocialFail.

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The #myNYPD campaign began with the original post shown above. The purpose of the campaign was to have Twitter users share good experiences they have had with their local police department in order to encourage more positive feelings toward New York’s Finest. They had every intention to counteract some of the negativity floating around the Twittersphere, but in asking for users to post their own content, they never imagined what they were about to receive.

Twitter took to the trending hashtag and went wild, answering to #myNYPD with seemingly endless pictures and videos of New York Police Officers committing numerous acts of police brutality that have been caught on camera over the years. The hashtag had so much activity that it was the number one trending topic in New York and the second highest trending topic in the United States. The hashtag even went on to inspire new versions, such as #myLAPD, which attacked the Los Angeles Police Department for their wrongdoings.

This campaign is absolutely a #socialfail for a number of reasons. First, the New York Police Department must not have much experience with Twitter to be so willing to ask users to respond to a hashtag. Twitter is one of the most #unforgiving social media platforms. Users are usually millennial-aged, raised to speak their minds and able to use the platforms to do so. There is also very little censorship on Twitter, so for the most whatever says goes. In asking such a variety of users, with little to no boundaries, to respond to a hashtag about a notoriously brutal police force, the NYPD created a PR mess that backfired in no time, even bringing other police departments into the whirlwind. #myNYPD is a #socialfail for the books that can hopefully teach the New York Police Deparment as well as the PR world a lesson about what you may get yourself into when embarking on a social media campaign. #ouj4530



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