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October 15, 2010
Manchester's Cops on Twitter -- Slices of Life
Oh, this is delightful. Raymond Chandler and his Philip Marlowe detective being introduced to Twitter. Seriously, the Manchester, England, police department  placed all its calls for a given 24 hours on Twitter, and demonstrated the laconic utility of that social medium, as well as what a police department actually does, day-by-day. A great PR initiative! 

Chandler is quoted, it appears, describing Marlowe on the The Guardian's site: "He talks as the man of his age talks, that is with rude wit and a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham and a contempt for pettiness."

By a quick count, that's almost 140 characters, and it describes what the Manchester police are trying to say about what they do on their daily rounds -- not just prevail in shoot-'em-ups.

Twitter is a fine-grained medium. Anyone considering using it needs to understand that first off. It provides slices of life, individual or organizational lives. It offers genuine insights, so any shoddy Tweeters beware!

"Even Chandler, though," The Guardian writes, "might have had difficulty in quite conveying the turbulent emotion and seething human passion they (the Manchester police) recorded in just 140 characters for each incident. As in: "Report of suspicious man outside an address in Bolton". Or "Confused man reporting television not working".

If you want to know what Twitter, and life, and PR opportunity are about, check out this Guardian report. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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