There are some obvious positives for the police arising from communicating with communities via social media, including that it allows them to directly post a story which bypasses the ‘frame’ it might be given by traditional news media. However, this raises the interesting question of whether by bypassing the potential frame of old media, the story might get reframed or ‘re-positioned’ by new media on social networking sites?
'...the way stories get told on police Facebook sites can be likened to an ambitious community film project...'
In our research we explored organisational police Facebook sites and have noticed that the communication on these sites is dynamic, energetic and (to us at least) really fascinating! In our observations the way stories get told on police Facebook sites can be likened to an ambitious community film project, where a story is scripted by multiple authors, at multiple points in time, and is produced and directed by a staff of extremely motivated ‘crew’ in the form of the local community members.
Another interesting aspect is the level of engagement of community members. In some cases the “effort” expended is fairly minimal, a supportive “well done” or a ‘like’ about a story. However in a lot of cases community members are taking the time to add a lot of information in the comments, telling of similar stories that happened to them – perhaps to create a position of authority to hold a particular view on the police story, or to develop counter-narratives to the discourses developed by the police.
'....it does provide an informal way of capturing community feeling and sentiment regarding police activity.'
Watch the video below to listen to Zoe talking more about this topic.
Links to research papers:
- Are you talking to me? How identity is constructed on police-owned Facebook sites. Narrative Inquiry, 28(2) pp. 280–300
- Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia (2018)
- Entitlement to Tell on Police Facebook Sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 22(5) pp. 355–357
- Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Harrison, Virginia and Ness, Hayley (2019)