Many of you will have been watching yesterday's Twitter experiment by Greater Manchester Police with interest. For 24 hours, they tweeted details of every emergency call received – from a woman who dialled 999 because she missed a bus, to serious incidents, including a gun being fired through a window.
It has been a ground breaking experiment in helping the public understand what the police face on a day to day basis – but did it work?
Well, 3205 incidents were logged in 24 hours. It has highlighted the types of issues our police force have to deal with on a daily basis, and enlightened people to what they have to face. Everything from mental health incidents, missing people, and accidents.
Was it a gimic? No. It is all too easy for Joe Public to criticise the police, and have a superficial view of the role they play within our society. This exercise has given the police much more transparency, and highlighted just how much of their time is taken up with repeat calls and timewasters. And in an economy where budget cuts are ever present, and funding for our police force is threatened, this has been an important use of social media to improve understanding of where resources need to be pointed.
And at the end of the day…..GMP has picked up 14,000 followers in just one day!
A gimic and a joke – or an important social experiment using Twitter? What do you think?!