By Rachel Sider
The New York City Police Department mostly known as the NYPD, officially the City of New York Police Department, is considered to be the largest municipal police force in the United States. This police force has primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within all five boroughs of New York City.
With the constant negative press that police all over the country have been receiving these past few years as a result of brutality cases, the Public Relations Department of the NYPD thought a social media campaign would be a great, positive way to promote the NYPD and police all over the country.
On a Tuesday afternoon, their Twitter account, @NYPDNews, tweeted, “Do you have a photo w/a member of the NYPD? Tweet us and tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook.” What sounded like a great, uplifting idea totally backfired on them. The fed-up public decided to turn the hashtag around. Hundreds of angry citizens used it to accompany images of disturbing police brutality. In classic social media matter, this campaign gained attention not just in New York but nationally. People from all over the United States started tweeting negative feedback about their personal experiences with the police, while continuing to use #MyNYPD.
Other citizens who have been or are currently in the police force were very upset with how the campaign resulted. However, many of them say that it was poor planning on the NYPD’s fault. When you are dealing with subjects and groups that have a political twist to them, social media campaigns can result in a bad situation. When behind the screen, users are fearless with their words. They will say what they feel, with no fear in what the community thinks. This is what happened with the #MyNYPD campaign.
I have no doubt that NYPD had only great intentions for the Twitter campaign. The community abused this campaign and rather than using it as positive publicity, used it to take out their anger towards the police and make their words heard.
Sometimes, on social media when something goes wrong, how the company handles it is the cherry on top of the cake. It can truly hurt or help the situation. What hurt this campaign even more is how they handled the negative comments. NYPD decided it was best to totally ignore it and not address it at all. Dan Hill, president of integrated and a former New Mexico police spokesperson, Tweeted about the New York City Police Department should have used humor to handle the situation instead of ignoring it. I personally agree with him. It would have showed the public that they meant no harm but clearly offended a large portion of the public.
This campaign was a social fail. With over 150 police brutality photos and endless amounts of negative commentary, NYPD did not have success. It angered the community instead of doing the opposite of what a social media campaign is supposed to do. I think this is the perfect example of the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” When you ask for people to chime in on a controversial public conversation, you cannot help but to be ready for whatever may be said, and realize that you have zero control once it’s out there.
“#MyNYPD Twitter Campaign Spawns Hashtags Across the Country.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.
“NYPD’s Twitter Campaign Disaster Spreads to LAPD.” New York Post. 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.
Network, Jolie Lee. “NYPD’s Twitter Campaign Backfires.” USA Today. Gannett, 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.
Oh, Inae. “This NYPD Idea Backfired Horribly On Twitter.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.
“Bashtag: NYPD Twitter Campaign Backfires.” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.