Marketing agency pretends it's the police on Twitter

An Australia company opens a Twitter account in the name of the New South Wales police, calling it a "social media experiment."

We've all had those ideas that seemed like good one at the time and then perhaps didn't seem so good the following morning. Or when the police got involved.

But a marketing agency in Australia reportedly decided to skip straight to the part involving the police.

Mentally Friendly (because mental friends really are the best) decided to set up a Twitter account in the name of the New South Wales police. Which was an interesting thing to do, save for the fact that an increasingly large number of people thought it really was written by the New South Wales police.

Well, it did feature the real police shield.

Strangely, the New South Wales police decided to investigate this Twitter page. According to the Australian ABC News, the police contacted Twitter to ask about its impersonation policy. Which prompted Mentally Friendly to reveal itself in a blog post on the company's site.

I believe this is a real New South Wales police Beetle. CC Tim in Sydney/Flickr

The company explained it "wondered what the social reaction would be if a law enforcement agency or figure of authority joined the conversation." And it discovered that "users responded positively to the concept of an authorities (sic) presence in social media."

Mentally Friendly added that "the intent was never to misrepresent the NSW Police Force, but to create a simple and genuine dialog with which to gauge the public's response."

You might wonder why Mentally Friendly didn't become mental friends with the police first before trying its experiment.

Especially if you read a tweet from May 4th that informed the public: "Our newest police pups have been named. Meet: Darcy, Dax, Demon, Dexter, Diego, Digger, Dingo, Dozer and Dragon, and Delta."

I have no idea if this information is true or not. But I would have wondered a little as to why they all began with a "D." I would have wondered significantly that, if Dingo got a little hungry, we might soon have read the headline: "A Dingo ate my suspect."

I would, however, have wondered hugely about the site's very first tweet on March 5th: "Enjoying new secret search powers."

Wouldn't we all if we had them?

Still, it appears that the New South Wales police, once they discovered what was going on, decided simply to confiscate the site and use it themselves.

On May 20th, the site tweeted: "All tweets prior to today were not official NSW Police messages. Go to www.police.gov.nsw.au for our latest media releases in full."

Perhaps, therefore, it is unsurprising that Mentally Friendly added in its blog post: "Big thanks to the NSW Police Force for having an outstanding sense of humor."

Oh, if only all bodies of authority had an outstanding sense of humor.

 

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