Outdoor hoardings are finding a new voice on Twitter. While Twitter handles are often flashed on the brand’s hoardings along with their Facebook pages, we’ve also come across hashtags being sported on these hoardings. The most recent hashtag on a hoarding was put up by the Mumbai Police and Mumbai Traffic Police, as part of their ‘Safe Mumbai’ initiative on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.
The hoarding at Babulnath Junction in South Mumbai urged onlookers to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the country by observing a moment of silence for them. The campaign didn’t stop at that. It asked the onlookers to send a blank tweet with the hashtag #AMomentOfSilenceForOurHeroes.
The hoarding managed to stir an online buzz on Twitter, with mostly blank tweets and the hashtag. But, many of them also chose to add their own wishes to #AMomentOfSilenceForOurHeroes. Incidentally, the Mumbai police or the Mumbai traffic police accounts were not associated with these conversations on Twitter as these entities do not have a presence on social media platforms. There are Twitter accounts and Facebook pages by them, but none of them are alive now.
Having a Twitter handle would have helped them build positive associations with the public. The hashtag just by itself, does not convey much on Twitter, for someone who sees it on her Twitter stream instead of on the hoarding. Social media could help in positive brand building at the time of such public messages, but it seems both the Mumbai police and the Mumbai traffic police are not too keen on that. Their idea of social media as a branding tool seems to be disconnected. They did rather do some ‘policing’ on the network!
Despite not having a presence on social media, the Mumbai Police is quite apprehensive about the power of the medium. Earlier this year, the Mumbai Police had inaugurated a social media laboratory with the purpose of constant monitoring for objectionable content on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, with the help of monitoring tools from SocialAppsHQ.
An opportunity for positive association has been missed here; nonetheless a simple and cool initiative that is still reflecting on Twitter!