Embracing Social Media

By Joelyn Hansen

In July I shared the following picture on the IFPD Facebook Page as a reminder to folks about the importance of checking blind spots before backing up a vehicle.
Within one day this picture was viewed by several hundred people and shared 300 times by other Facebook users. I myself shared this photo from another police agency that shared it on their Facebook page.
I can’t even fathom how many people saw this picture. I’m guessing in the thousands.
Now whether you hate or love Facebook, we’d agree that Facebook and other social media (Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc.) has changed how society communicates in today’s world. Whether you want to admit it or not, I bet in some form you use social media. I bet you even used social media today. I did several times.
Just for your own interest, here are a few statistics regarding Facebook:
·         More than 500 million active users (200 million access it on mobile devices)
·         50% of active users log onto Facebook in any given day
·         Average user has 130 friends
·         People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Here’s also an interesting video regarding the impact of social media:

More than a year ago, the Idaho Falls Police Department joined the craze and started utilizing social media to communicate to the public. We obviously weren’t the first. The International Association of Chiefs of Police found that 81.1% of law enforcement agencies were already using social media for the community outreach, promotion of crime prevention, emergency notifications, soliciting crime tips and even recruitment.
We’ve used social media – Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and even YouTube – in a variety of ways. It’s been successful so we’ll continue to use it.
Just to let you know, the Chief’s blog and our Facebook page have the most followings. Both continue to grow. Currently we have 546 regular Facebook followers. Average age is 25-34. The blog averages about 400 hits a week. The most popular post to date has been “Has the Time Arrived?” (This talks about allowing officers to wear goatees). Who knew?!