If a law enforcement agency exists, can they still have a personality on Twitter?
At least for a Kansas town with a population of 95,000, the answer is yes.
On a Thursday night when I was looking for anything (anything) to help put off the grueling task of going to sleep, I found a retweet from the Lawrence, KS. police department:
Turns out, the humble force that protects and serves the town’s mostly-college-aged population had spent the summer with the film crew for the television show COPS (which, is in season 30, by the way). Whether pending reality TV stardom is the cause or the effect, their Twitter feed is delightful.
I’ve included a few screen shots (of the many I’ve captured), but go ahead and see the account for yourself here.
Funnier than Super Troopers, they deadpan and mean it (“It’s that time of the year, the time to #DriveSober (Jan. thru Dec.)…”), provide helpful advice (“Lock your cars”), and expertly use the reply/thread function to share information and provide updates that need more than 140 characters.
I was so charmed by their moxy I decided to give them a call the next day and ask some questions from an admirer (steal like an artist, right?). The general phone number went to voicemail. But I did some sneaky sneaking (as they would call it) and found their account is legitimate (not a parody, check), and is handled by one person (consistent voice, check).
Clearly, an unwavering execution of sound social media principles are integral to their secret Twitter sauce, including the following:
Cultivate an audience
The police force is out in the community, interacting with people at all times, and it’s obvious that the Twitter handler really “gets” all of the facets of the community. New KU students, town residents, students and alumni who’ve stuck around all have equal shots at being teased. It works: the account clearly has an established (loyal) following.
Communicate fast, correct inaccuracies
When it comes to public safety issues, car accidents or general initiatives (“forewarned is fair-warned,” they say), the account communicates early and often, and then corrects or updates information along the way as it’s made available, getting plenty of use out of that reply function to keep updates organized.
Don’t take yourselves too seriously
This is a no-brainer, but for the person crafting the tweets, it’s all equal parts practice, skill for the craft, luck, and a gift.
While I didn’t get the chance to talk to the person behind this account, yet, I did get more than a few chuckles and a new social media account to admire from a far. I don’t know what you’ll be doing this Friday night, but I’ll be rooting for no bar closing fights on the #LKPDTweetalong.