Wednesday 2 December 2015

How to follow a Police hashtag like #NorfolkLive by making something useful and fast

screenshot of the website
In this post, you'll learn about making something online for free that support Community Safety.

In this case, Norfolk Police UK made one tweet with a slide on 28 Oct 2015 at 7am. Sgt Joe Simon said, Me + @RPFOUSgt will be broadcasting live on patrol via @periscopeco on Fri 30th and Sat 31st. Follow #NorfolkLive.

There are many things going on here, and for the newcomer it's fat too easy to get lost. Breaking them down we have:

  • Live Broadcasting from Norfolk Police
  • Updates from six officers/staff
  • Periscope (live video from mobile lasting 24 hrs)
  • One hashtag of #NorfolkLive with tweets
  • 5pm to 3am 31 Oct 2015 ..

This got me thinking and looking ahead to the fastest and easiest way (for me) to tell their story and most importantly the members of the public to follow.

Method We're in the UK and that means 91% of the people use Google to Search. And as Google have over 100 free services to use, it was a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.

1, Blogger I made a simple website called When I say simple, the one google account login is all you need. Go to name the site and it's done.

As this was a test beta site, I called it ukpolicingweek and not norfolklive - hindsight is a wonderful thing, I can easily change the name or create another site (more on that later).

You can also add a custom favicon (small square logo) and a custom banner - these are optional.

Blogger Layout
2, Go to Twitter, create a list, in this case called Norfolk Police Live (with 7 members). Find the Create Widget area, copy code to clipboard/notepad. Do the same for Create a Widget for the hashtag #NorfolkLive. You will note there are two twitter feeds - I made this choice based on seeing all the picture, the seven tweeting officers and the hashtag. 

3, From Blogger Layout, Add a Gadget, choose HTML/Java Script Add (this will Add third-party functions/code to your blog). Paste the twitter code into the box and save.

4,  Make the first post, add a Blog Archive, Feedback area and About if needed. And of course Share.

And now we Wait - All we need do is watch the feeds and see what happens closer as the event unfolds.

Norfolk Fire in Gt Yarmouth, UK Show & Tell
5, Periscope is a live broadcast tool that lasts for 24 hours before it's deleted. Sgt Joe Simon and Sgt Chris Harris produced an eleven minute video called Tour and Questions with @EastEnglandAmb @EEAST_CNDLOs in Norwich

I watched the broadcast on desktop while using the free OBS to screen record, then uploaded to YouTube (with permission from Sgt Joe). By screen recording, all the original Periscope text overlays and saved too. 

Of course it helps if you know the officers, in this case, I had most of them in twitter DMs. I was able to offer instant feedback, like the suggestion to switch to landscape orientation as that suits the 16:9 youtube player.

6, YouTube Playlist As the event progressed, there were six periscopes that I screen recorded. I made a Public Playlist at YouTube. This is vital for the video to be found easily. That allows all videos to be embedded onto the website. Just switch the blogger compose editor to HTML and paste in the code.

72 images in the album
7, Photos and Print Screen As we watched, there were 48  photos posted. The ones I thought fascinating, were posted onto the site, like the ACC Sarah Hamlin Briefing, Team Selfie, Chris to Jim or the Lucas CPR (last two were gifs).

8, Highlights video When the event was over, I used Print Screen to send each photo to Picasa for editing and a crop if needed. I then used Sony Vegas Movie Studio 13 Platinum (this is paid software, any simple video editing can be done for free, just personal choice). I used a free music track from the youtube music library.

Summing up There were over 1,000 mentions of the hashtag #norfolklive. Local news reported the event, especially when local nightclubs in Prince of Wales Road were full (google news).

The youtube videos I created have seen 1,225 views. The website has seen 782 views from a standing start, there were 15 posts and of course the twin twitter widgets refreshed endlessly.

Next Steps. I've learned loads. The realtime web is just that - realtime. All I had was a win10 laptop and some software. Anything I did that was wrong, could be corrected in a few seconds. 

I fed from the public information Norfolk Police and the team supplied. I did not create any new information as such, just collated and edited what I could find. Although I did have many DMs from those involved, they were a luxury, definitely not essential. For me, any officer on the ground needs to create the tweet, the photo or the video and just move on - knowing there will be some tech support in a room somewhere throwing it all together, if and only if, needed.

I'm already onto other sites following the same formula. I'd like to thank ll at Norfolk Police for allowing me the opportunity to test some stuff out. There are two new sites and both are just as exciting. 

Sgt Charlie Routley from MPS Harold Wood has an Event planned on Wed 16 Dec 2015 as #MPSHaveringLive where he's already made one periscope and I did the same, screen recorded and sent to youtube Burglary Patrols in Harold Wood MPS (411 views so far).

Essex Police Live is a larger project as it follows  the work of over 100 officers in Community Safety and Policing. This site has it's own twitter account, google maps and a memory game too.

The two new sites are: Live Event Wed 16 Dec 2015

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