Finally. A persuasion play you can use with Facebook to make a Change you can Count!
For Facebook, Detective Kennedy creates an avatar, typically the persona of a female teenager, and sends out “friend requests.” Sometimes, accepted requests are followed by a come-on from the targeted teenager, like an inquiry about where the “girl” lives or whether she wants to meet up. Department rules bar the detective from engaging, but he and Officer Ramos spend at least two hours daily monitoring the teenagers’ chatter — alert for talk of fights, party plans and criminal activities. If a program teenager is looking for trouble, Detective Kennedy said he could often see it coming and hopefully intervene.
NYPD uses Facebook to monitor the social activity of gangbangers! The fake profiles attract kids already in the criminal justice system for prior arrests and the police can learn not only about that kid, but other kids the kid runs with.
This is part of a larger test program with NYPD aimed at putting a lot of personal contact on troubled kids. The police do not simply use Facebook, they engage in that hard effort of face to face persuasion. They look for the kid on the street. They talk to the kid everytime they see him. They introduce themselves to the kid’s friends. So, the SM2.0 strategy here is not just digital. It’s personal, too.
At the same time, officers seek to forge relationships with the teenager’s family, drawing them in with perquisites like a hand-delivered turkey on Thanksgiving Eve and toys and brand-name sneakers for younger siblings. Officers also provide tailored help, shuttling family members to doctors’ appointments, connecting them with alcohol and drug-abuse counseling and filling out applications for low-income housing, food stamps, child support and child care.
The object of the program is to make the kid part of the law enforcement social network and isolate him (usually, sometimes her) from a different social network that encourage a different line of activity. So, both the police and the gangbangers are using Uncle Norm to influence the kid, just in different directions.
Contrast how NYPD uses Facebook to the recent story about Facebook games to raise awareness and charitable contributions on the problem of female genital mutilation and child prostitution. The game players are miles away from the Local of abuse, assault, and trauma, substituting clicks for actual face to face contact. NYPD uses the WATtap to their advantage. Troubled kids will friend the faux profile and reveal themselves, their network, their pictures, their plans and in that Low WATT way so characteristic of Facebook activity. The police then actually go to the kid with the problem and connect directly with the kid with both rewards and potential punishments.
Here we see a successful persuasion play through Facebook. Note the features: Use Facebook to acquire information which then feeds into other persuasion plays you run. The police are not permitted under current policy to engage in Facebook interactions, so this play is entirely passive. You just set up the profile, send out requests, then monitor what happens. It’s a very low cost application of Facebook which then save you resources for other persuasion plays that work.
Hey, gamesters for persuasion! Got a challenge for you. Where’s the game to get gangbangers to quit gangbanging? Should be easy for people as smart as you. I mean, good grief, if a buncha cops are burning all that shoe leather with a little Facebook, you oughta be able to do better. A lot.
See the thoughtful persuasion behind this NYPD Facebook play. Even with significant restrictions on the use of Facebook, the police use it to cheaply acquire fabulous real-time and background information on specific Other Guys. They then coordinate that information with face to face plays delivered exactly to a specific Other Guy. See how the police capitalize on that Low WATT WATtapping on Facebook. This is a smart, sophisticated, and useful persuasion play.
Of course, it won’t get you a seat on the Cool Table. The cops should probably also get a Game App, too, and impress the Mayor’s Office, the New York Times, and fellow travelers. Seriously. Engage all those idiot FauxItAlls who like to act like They are doing good when They are just acting.