Becoming more than a digital bullhorn: two-way engagement on Twitter for law enforcement
Perron, Zachary P.
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Police agencies are increasingly turning to social media to communicate with the public; some departments only push information out one way, while others engage in a two-way, back-and-forth conversation. Research is robust on topics such as two-way engagement, the benefits of a large following, and the positive impact government can have by using social media during and after crises, but there is a marked lack of police-specific quantifiable data. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if two-way engagement on Twitter leads to an increase in followers. A case study analysis of three Silicon Valley, California, police departments’ Twitter engagement habits showed that agencies using a two-way communication model receive more new followers overall than agencies using a one-way model. The analysis did not, however, conclusively find a direct relationship on a monthly or daily basis between the amount of two-way engagement and the number of followers. Ultimately, the research reveals a number of tactics that police agencies can employ to increase two-way engagement, and recommends strategic implementation devices.
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