Police tweeting after the UK summer riotsFearing the Olympics / what will it break? Becoming crisis
Research ContextAlternative view of the Olympics• Fear of the Olympics – Coming Crisis?• What will break?• The Internet?• The Transport structure?• The Electricity Grid?• Terror Attack?• (more) scandals revealed – budgets, tickets, torchbearersAnalysis of the role of the police on Twitter post riots
18. It would be actively unhelpful to switch off social media during times of widespread and serious disorder and we strongly recommend that this does not happen. (Paragraph 78) It is clear from the use forces made of social media to engage with their communities during the riots that they are a valuable resource, and the Government has no intention of switching them off. They were also used by communities to organise clean up operations in the aftermath of the riots. Although social media were used by some to organise disorder and criminality, it has been widely acknowledged in many of the reports on the riots that a number of the forces used social media extensively to engage with their communities and provide reassurance. The Metropolitan Police’s number of Twitter followers rose from 4,500 before the riots to 42,000 afterwards, a figure which seems to have been sustained. As early as 9 August, Operation Withern’s gallery of images for identification hadPresented to Parliament by the Secretary of received 4 million hits.State for the Home Department by Command ofHer Majesty - February 2012
Twitter handles MPSBarkDag MPSBarnet MPSBexley MPSBrent MPSBromley MPSCamden metpoliceuk MPSWestminster MPSCroydon EalingMPS MPSEnfield MPSGreenwich MPSHackney MPSHammFul MPSHaringey MPSHarrow MPSHavering MPSHillingdon MPSHounslow MPSIslington MPSKenChel MPSKingstonPlus: LambethMPS MPSLewisham@MetPoliceEvents(Updates from the Met Police regarding MPSMertondemonstrations & events in London) MPSNewham MPSRedbridge@MPSOnTheStreet(An official MPS account giving an officer MPSRichmondon the grounds view of events, operations and other MPSSouthwark MPSSuttonpolicing activities in London) MPSTowerHam@MPSDoI(Updates from the Metropolitan Police Service, MPSWForest MPSWandsworthDirectorate of Information)
When did the accounts join Twitter? Most London Borough Accounts joined in February 2012, with a lot joining on the 27th and 28th of February.
Collecting the data 3322 tweets sent 1 – 28 June Scraper by Jacopo OttavianiURL for the scraper: https://scraperwiki.com/scrapers/police_and_the_olympics_2012/
Number of tweets sent 1 – 28 June *MPSHaringey missing (to be scraped)400350300250200150100 50 0
Extracting the text from the tweets Olympic words manually highlighted + made a Wordle with DMI tool.
Extract the links (all the URLs)A total of 1161 URLs were extracted. Most were shorted, mainly using t.co (Twitter)Tried to unpack them using:Didn’t work, manual unpacking and note taking (plus you still have the shortenedURL in case you want to retrace it.
Use of other social media platforms by the police, to take pictures for example(Twitpic and flickr), plus additional information of Facebook. Also FaceWatch, toidentify criminals.
Extracting the hashtags No tool for this currently Hopefully coming soon (Or use Google Refine?)
Extracting tweets mentioning OlympicsManual extraction of relevant tweets (Google Refine next time!)• Tweets for torch (24)• Tweets for Olympic (22)• Tweets for Olympics (14)• Tweets for gold (10)Data for further analysis. For example:‘RT @metpoliceuk: Officers have issued a warningabout fraudulent websites selling tickets for theOlympics http://t.co/hdsbU9Sl’
Further analysis in next few days• Content analysis of (all?) tweets / NLP work on the dataset• Closer analysis of the profiles (linked to where rioting took place last year)• Engagement - #askmetbosshashtag (did the Met engage with citizens?)• Unpacking links – analysis of sites, images and so on.