Social media is expanding rapidly and changing the way people interact with one another, share information, connect with their communities engage with the institutions around them. This change in commu-nication is more than a simple shift in where people go for information, it is a change in how people receive and process information as well, and what their expectations are for interaction and the opportunity to participate in conversations. As communities discussions begin to shift from the street corners and coffee shops to the online world, departments that develop an online presence are sure to remain engaged in conversation with the policed population.
What is Social Media? Social media is a category of online media that allows users to create content, connect with each other and share information. The well-known social media sites in the U.S. are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Flickr, to name a few.
How BIG is it? Nearly half of all adults in the United States today are on social networking sites. Facebook, by far the largest social media site, grew from 60-million to 80-million U.S. based users in a single year, from 2009 to 2010. Out of those 80 million users, approximately 50% log in at least once a day. The average age of social media users is gradually increasing, and the age profile of social media users now aligns more closely with the general population
What are we doing there? Aside from connecting with family and friends, social media users also consume much of their news through these websites. The nature of social media allows people to share stories they find interesting, which in turn spread through multiple networks to a broad audience.