If there has been any entity either in the public or private sector which has used Twitter to its fullest advantage, my vote will certainly go to the Police Departments. The sight of police has up until recently evoked image of sirens, urgency, fast paced cars, and even guns. But a few years ago, police forces across the world actually started using Twitter for an image makeover. It is uncertain how and when it first started, but I'd care to guess it must have been around 2012. Regardless of which Police Department was the first mover, many other police force handles around the globe were quick to follow suit. The result? Tons and tons of viral tweets!
A question arises on why police departments, who are known for serious work, would start taking this humorous approach? After giving it a thought, I have come to believe that it's a well thought out strategy to achieve the following:
Gain more Followers
Law enforcement agencies' Twitter handles typically don't see as many followers at those of a celebrity's or influencer's account. But it is important for these law agencies to have their information reach out to as many people as possible. Various studies have shown that funny tweets can skyrocket your engagement metrics and gain you more followers. Hence, funny tweets are a great way for police departments to gain more followers and have their information reach out to a wider customer base.
This might sound like a logical derivative of the above and somewhat even similar, but this reason has got to do more with getting your content shared. Getting your tweets retweeted is the only other way to have your information disseminate to a larger audience besides actually gaining followers. In fact, getting retweet has an exponential impact, because every time a tweet it retweeted, it is seen by several hundreds or even thousands of more people. Researches have shown that humorous tweets are more likely to be retweeted as compared to ordinary tweets.
Brand Image makeover
Despite all their work as law enforcers and watchful protectors, people view police departments with a bit of skepticism. Some people just outrightly denounce police forces whereas others find them valuable but not friendly. Using Twitter in a casual, fun way is actually a way to humanize these police forces and make them appear to be more friendly and affable. And social media handles that start humanizing themselves are often perceived as trustful and authentic as compared to handles that act mechanical and only put out facts and information.
Some Funny Tweets
Now that we've seen some possible reasons why police departments all over the globe might be turning into humorous entities on Twitter, let's have a look at a few funny tweets:
Being a quintessential Bombay guy (born and brought up), it's only natural I will start with my home city's Police Department. But, they merit a place here given how amazingly they've conducted themselves on Twitter. The perfect mix of humor and information.
1- Mumbai Police alluding to our unofficial surveillance system, the 'neighborhood aunties' who like to keep an eye on everything and love to gossip!
2 - Mumbai Police commenting on a very unfortunate and prevalent issue that's ingrained in our behavior - that of looking at at the cell phone screens while driving.
Bengaluru (Bangalore) Police
Another Twitter account that's enjoying a lot of engagement, thanks to some pop-culture referenced tweets.
1- Using a famous dialogue from an iconic movie to talk about another ill behavior that's observed more than we'd like - jumping the signal
2 - When Narcos had become hugely popular in India, Bengaluru City Police came up with this witty tweet to show that they don't tolerate or appreciate the drugs business at all. Just look at the number of retweets!
Lawrence Police Department, Kansas
Lawrence is a town with a population of 96,000. But their Police Department has a following of 180,000+ on Twitter. If not for humor, what else would explain this? For a police department of their size, they've managed their Twitter rather brilliantly! Let's look at a few of their gems.
1- Isn't it a good way to unearth the shady people in town? After all, a 'dissatisfied customer' is 9 times more likely to talk about you on social media than a happy one!
2- Lawrence PD really tried to ensure that there are no drunken brawls. They could only manage it successfully for a day, but they didn't give up!
Edmonton Police Department, Alberta (Canada)
The folks running this account seem to be very artistically oriented. Rhymes, Backstreet Boys lyrics, and more!
Just some one off funny tweets by different police departments across the world!
Solihull Police was just trying to help!
Leicester Police as well. Do you think anyone would fall for this?
The Wyoming, MN Police is clearly not a fan of One Direction. Neither am I.
Spend time with your family folks!
Have any funny tweets to share? Drop them in the comments below!