The New York Police Department sought to generate some goodwill on Twitter yesterday by inviting users to tweet their photos with New York City police members alongside the hashtag #myNYPD.
But instead of posting images of friendly uniformed men and women protecting the community, critics of the department’s handling of anti-bank protestors and historic hostility toward minorities came out in droves to share photos of NYC arresting people, mostly in violent fashion.
It got picked up by the regular media:
Some users even shared photos in which they themselves had been arrested.
The #myNYPD hashtag quickly became a trending topic,with more than 70,000 people making mostly negative comments about NYPD before the day way over, according to the New York Daily News.
And the embarrassing derailment of the NYPD’s positive talking point became front-page news:
You can see more results from the #myNYPD hashtag here.
While the NYPD very well could have created the #myNYPD hashtag with good intentions, the campaign’s ultimate failure should have been obvious to anyone who had taken the time to think about just who the department was addressing on Twitter, a medium that has generated a reputation for providing dissenters a platform to voice their opinions.
When opening the floor to the public, controversial organisations like the NYPD and JPMorgan, which experienced its own Twitter nightmare a few months ago, need to be prepared for their critics to be louder than their fans.
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