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NYC police head: We won't quit social media

NEW YORK (AP) -- To put it in social media terms, the New York Police Department got trolled.

The nation's largest police department learned the hard way that there are legions online devoted to short-circuiting even the best-intentioned public relations campaign - in this case, the NYPD's Twitter invitation to people to post feel-good photos of themselves posing with New York's Finest.

What (hash)myNYPD got instead was a montage of hundreds of news images of baton-wielding cops arresting protesters, pulling suspects by the hair, unleashing pepper spray and taking down a bloodied 84-year-old man for jaywalking.

It was a fail of epic proportions, with the hashtag among the most-trafficked in the world Tuesday, creating a public relations nightmare for a new NYPD leadership intent on creating a more community-friendly force.

"We've seen instances before where a hashtag can become a bash-tag," said Glen Gilmore, who teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. "When you're in the social space, it's tough to predict what's going to happen."

A similar meltdown came last November when investment giant JP Morgan Chase, which had been paying billions in fines stemming from the financial crisis, asked followers on Twitter to post career advice questions. Among them: "Did you have a specific number of people's lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?"

McDonald's inadvertently ordered up some bad publicity in 2012 with its (hash)McDStories campaign. Sample response: "I walked into a McDonald's and could smell the Type II diabetes."

The (hash)myNYPD misfire comes at a time when new Police Commissioner William Bratton is trying to re-brand the department to counter criticism that it has been trampling on people's civil rights. Last week, it disbanded an intelligence unit that spied on Muslim neighborhoods, and it has promised to reforms to the crime-fighting tactic known as stop and frisk.

Bratton acknowledged Wednesday that the Twitter campaign may not have been fully thought through.

"Was that particular reaction from the some of the police adversaries anticipated? To be quite frank, it was not," Bratton said. "But at the same time it's not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media. ... It is what it is. It's an open, transparent world."

The (hash)myNYPD traffic was holding steady on Wednesday, but the dialogue had shifted from mockery of the NYPD to an analysis of what went wrong, including the tweet "Social Media 101: Be careful what you ask for."

Anthony Rotolo, a professor of digital communications at Syracuse University, suggested another appropriate response could have been (hash)SMH - shake my head.

"A lot of time the eagerness to embrace social media tools overshadows our common sense," Rololo said. "In other types of media, we would not so quickly jump to something like this without doing our groundwork first."

Still, there was some evidence Wednesday that the outreach may bear fruit.

One person posted a photo of herself standing next to an officer on horseback in Times Square. Another posted a picture of two smiling officers on patrol and wrote, "These guys put their lives on the line every day. They deserve our respect and gratitude."

NYPD's Twitter Campaign #MyNYPD Backfires

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
jff411 April 23 2014 at 10:06 PM

I live in Newyork. And it really is a police state. I was 16 when 9/11 happened. And by the age of 25 i must have been searched over 30 times. It starts to psyhcologically break you down. You start to feel and believe that you are a criminal internally. They dont know how they impact, good and innocent people!!!! They want to create criminals not stop crime thats actually going on. they want to make good people lash out and lock good people up. cause their to afraid and to cowardly to go into real neighborhoods and arrest the real criminals................... it keeps them in business.............. they damn well know that good people work, and probably have some form of income and you will go to all their bullshit court dates,and drag it out for almost a year so then you will pay every court fee they throw at you. They could give two ***** about people or the towns they work for.

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jff411 April 23 2014 at 11:39 PM

LOL.......City cops are pretty bad , Try coming out to East Newyork in Longisland these cops really dont play, we have the highest paid and one of the strictest police departments in the nation. These cops are unreal , undercovers all over, they will search you immediatley. Especially at night ..........forget it your getting stopped no question.!!!!! .......Look it up,,,,,, the,,, highest paid and toughest penal systems in the nation ................Longisland, Newyork

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2 replies
s162430 jff411 April 23 2014 at 11:45 PM

True….but i've gotten pulled over multiple times by suffolk county cops….never got a ticket luckily…maybe it's my dashing good looks.
Tons of under cover but very very easy to tell. All under covers have very small black weird looking rims!!

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jff411 jff411 April 23 2014 at 11:46 PM

Their nothing but Goons

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1 reply
mielkele jff411 April 24 2014 at 8:44 AM

They're or they are. You seem to think they are important enough to capitalize goons.

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plandruff April 23 2014 at 11:41 PM

Lets get real. With 35k Police Officers in NY where's the money coming from. Back in the Koch days the question was where are we going to get the money to clean up Times Square? The Fed prints all the money they want, there is no limit, money is a psychological commodity. Alot of cops are making 250K a year with over time. Port Authority cops make $100 an hour. This is big money and big government. Play the game or get busted.

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mikco99 April 23 2014 at 11:45 PM

It's hard to find a cop who isn't automatically suspicious of you for no reason at all. They assume that anything you tell them is a lie. I just don't talk to them at all. It wasn't always like this. When I was growing up in the sixties, a cop as your friend.

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jff411 April 23 2014 at 11:55 PM

LOL.......City cops are pretty bad , Try coming out to East Newyork in Longisland these cops are worse than the NYPD, we have the highest paid and one of the strictest police departments in the nation. These cops are unreal , undercovers all over, they will search you immediatley. Especially at night ..........forget it ..........your getting stopped for no reason , no question about it and your most likely going to jail and if they dont find somthing they will make sure they will , to lock your ass up.!!!!! ...........Look it up,,,,,,,,,,,, the,,,,,,, highest paid and toughest penal systems in the nation ................Longisland, Newyork

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2 replies
bigred8690 jff411 April 24 2014 at 12:24 AM

If you obey the law and know your rights, you have nothing to worry about.

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1 reply
Tim bigred8690 April 24 2014 at 7:19 AM

You keep drinking that kool-aid, Big Red.

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halfpint2828 jff411 April 24 2014 at 9:48 AM

@Livlifefull-if you have never dealt with the NYPD then please shut your mouth and stick to LA comments. Hey 3 miles or 30 miles over the limit, you still broke the law, yes, it may be petty sounding but you did. And you were fingerprinted on the highway??? Seriously, I think there is alittle fibbing going on here, you only get fingerprinted at the station house, they don't carry these type of items with them in their cars. As far as you had your uniform on, do you expect some sort of a courtesy because your a nurse? Really? Really? The only courtesies that are given is to family members which is done in any profession. I think you need a reality check of some sort or perhaps you need to check yourself into your hospital for being unstable.

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guano1974 April 23 2014 at 7:10 PM

Photos out of context are easily misinterpreted...even when they appear obvious. I'm surprised they didn't receive 100's of this type of picture. Making news out of very little--it's the new American way.

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lnemesis19 April 23 2014 at 7:08 PM

A large percentage probably deserved the treatment they got. If they do not insert force into the situation, thats when the said person does something "nice" in return. They use this said force to relay the message of who is in charge of whats going on. I guess all of these people willingly put their hands out to be cuffed and voulenteered to be wagoned off. Get real people. Without the Police there would be chaos. People are far more violent towards each other than the police are to the public.

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1 reply
HI George.. lnemesis19 April 23 2014 at 7:12 PM

you cant be serious....the police officers job is to handcuff the person and then take them in to be processed....they are not supposed to beat the people they have sworn to protect...i knew a new york city police officer...he was on the force of 20 years...he stated to me that most of them are alcoholics with serious anger issues....i am sorry but i see these police officers as bad people in uniform and they have no business being on the police force and protecting us..

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1 reply
stephen284 HI George.. April 23 2014 at 7:19 PM

Well Curious George, most people aren't putting their hands out to be placed in handcuffs. It's always tinteresting to see the Leftist trolls come out to bash the police. In fact, that's who's usually being "bashed" by the police; the leftists who have thrown things at them or otherwise attacked them. The news always shows the result; never the cause.

Here's a quick lesson for you: Cops aren't targets. If you don't spit on them (assault) hit them or throw something at them (battery) and allow them to do their jobs, they aren't going to bother you. Don't you find it interesting that the ones always claiming to be abused by the police are those that can't follow simle rules of society?

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gramos555 April 23 2014 at 7:04 PM

NYPD just got owned.

Whose big idea was this PR stunt?

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l8takeoff April 23 2014 at 7:04 PM

I wouldn't have carried him. I would have dragged him....You fight the police, you throw bricks at the police, you take your chances...

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lynnmcarpenter April 23 2014 at 7:03 PM

NYC is so overcrowded that it turns people into brutal (versus gentle) animals. Even when I visit, after a few days, even though I looove the city, I feel myself becoming callous and irritated and I'm there for enjoyment. I can't imagine living there. I would lose my soul.

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1 reply
gramos555 lynnmcarpenter April 23 2014 at 7:09 PM

It's true. Every time I go, I have a great time, but I am also regularly shocked to see ordinary people yelling at each other in very inappropriate places, like markets, subway cars, and restaurants. NYers seem surprisingly friendly and open, but then they turn around and chew out a waiter or cab driver worse than I possibly could on my worst day!

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1 reply
halfpint2828 gramos555 April 23 2014 at 7:14 PM

Wow, this is the 3rd time I'm saying this....don't like it here, don't come, we don't want you!!!

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