@SeattlePD: You have the right to remain silent

Seattle police overshare 911 calls on Twitter, and get an earful from the public.

Mar 18, 2019, 6:09 am*


Discovering the daily dose of tweets to satisfy your followers is as mysterious as sussing out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

But, as the Seattle Police Department found out this week, if you overtweet, you may well take a tongue-lashing.

On Tuesday, @SeattlePD took to Twitter to to bring attention to the Emerald City’s Night Out Against Crime event. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., they tweeted almost every 911 call to its more than 9,000 followers. In total, 478 tweets were sent.

Some followers weren’t pleased.  “I had to unfollow when SPD blew up my phone,” said a follower to The Seattle Times. Another user complained. “My feed is full of useless tweets.”

Percentagewise, the complainers didn’t amount to much. The account, currently followed by 9,500 Twitterers, lost a couple of hundred followers according to The Seattle Times.

But not all was negative. @WestSeattleBlog tweeted “…@SeattlePD Twitter feed married the scanner. More information is always good!”

The police department defended its use of Twitter. A spokesman said they just wanted to “engage with the public.”

So, if a police department wants to use Twitter productively, what should they do? Seattle journalist Monica Guzman suggested that the department create a 911-call-specific feed. Another said SPD should tweet just important information, like mugshots.

The SPD isn’t done with Twitter. In August, they are planning a tweet-along, where a police officer will live-tweet every call he responds to. Consider yourself warned.

Photo by goldberg

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*First Published: Jul 28, 2011, 7:18 pm