Canadian Red Cross says #BeReady…what you need to know

There are many communities that are or soon will be seeing the impact of flooding. Do yourself a favour and take a look at this great piece from the Canadian Red Cross to help yourself be ready and be prepared.


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Making a Difference

Something really interesting happened on Twitter on April 15th, 2014 at 7:00pm. It had nothing to do with bombs, airplanes or Miley Cyrus (although all those things did trend on April 15th). This was different. A refreshing difference. A Twitter Chat happened that was unlike any other.

In Toronto, Canada, the police division in the city’s northwest corner held the #Div23Police chat. 23 Division is the unit responsible for policing that part of the city and within its boundaries is a small area that has a large Somalian population. This area has made headlines in recent years for crime, arrests, shootings and other such violence. So much so that concerted efforts were put together to help rid the community of crime and the criminals there.

By most accounts, the crack down has been a great success allowing a community a better sense of safety and freedom. But, a void was naturally created that needed to be filled with good, or the bad would easily return.

Enter something unique…Toronto Police entered with a unit designed to provide a bridge and outreach to the community. The 23 Division Somali Liaison Unit was formed and took up residence in the area. The perfect police and community bridge.

Tonight, that unit took to Twitter with their official account and reached out directly to the community. Now police doing Twitter Chats is nothing new. Often times it’s in the form of a virtual ride along or a series of broadcasts aimed at their entire population, but this was done for a very small area of a very big city.

10 Questions

The Unit posed 10 questions to the community all that had relevance to it and asked for their feedback in a survey.

If you compare each of those tweets to be a clock face, with each representing a number you get to 11 o’clock…almost a perfect circle. There is just one thing missing from completing the 12 hour rotation…later for that.

I’ve seen plenty of lip service and fluff by agencies all over North America in terms of “connecting with the community” and being available.  This folks is the real deal. The men and women in the Unit are boots on the ground. They are in the community, working with the community and being part of something great. There is no lip service here. When I saw the questions being posed I knew that the officers really want to know the answers. They will truly take them to heart and do what is in their power to help this community.

The Community

The police weren’t the only ones talking. The community was there as well.

Was this the biggest Twitter Chat? Not at all, but it was a first for this Unit and it was aimed at a small target audience. It was robust enough and did attract some attention so it was certainly a win.

2 Things

Two things every chat like this done by police really needs to include are:

  1. A reason
  2. Engagement

This chat had both. It is clear by the questions that the chats reason for happening was to gauge the communities feeling of the efforts the unit has undertaken and also to know how they are doing. There was engagement so it showed that the officers weren’t just throwing it all out there…they cared about the response give.  This chat also had a big bonus…the survey that was put out. That blew me away. They took the chat to a third level. They are literally giving every possible way for the community to give feedback.

12 O’Clock

I mentioned earlier that the unit needs to do one more thing to close the circle and let the clock strike 12.


They asked the community to do something. They gave a call to action. What they do with that CTA determines the closure. In my opinion, they need to go right back to the community and say thanks you showing the results of the survey and any action plan that is derived from the survey. That will bring them full circle.

Having said that; there is no doubt in my mind that the brain trust behind this has already thought about that it’s already in place to do just that.

Gold Question

Take a look back at one particular question. This is the highlight question for me and the one that can have the most significant impact on everything moving forward.

It does matter what crime statistics say or what data analysis reveals or what the officers themselves think. Perception is reality to this community. It might not be factual or even rational, but to the community their perception is EVERYTHING. The answers that come from this one question can make or break any initiative. If the perception is not addressed then the reality will never be seen.

That is a question that more police agencies and departments really need to address more. How does your community perceive something? Ask it. Listen to the answers. Address the perception to reveal the reality.

Well done @D23SomaliUnit.




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“Social Media is Tricky” ~ James Franco

Forbidden love between creepy old guy and young girl

Forbidden love between creepy old guy and young girl

James Franco said the above statement in an interview the other day with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on “Live with Kelly and Michael.” He is absolutely right…but not at all for the reason that you might think. In this case, what he should have said is, “When you try to hook up with a 17-year-old girl and she shares it with the world causing embarrassment and PR grief, then social media is tricky

See the video here

Read the complete story about the video here

I’m not going to debate if he is in the category of ‘dirty old man’ or just opportunistic. Let’s face it…there are lots of relationships with that type of age difference. (Franco is 35). I applaud him for his ‘facing the music right off the top’ and not hiding from the issue. That’s commendable…especially considering it was ALL out there already and it really couldn’t be spun at all.

I am going to take issue with is his reasoning that social media is tricky.  It’s not because it’s confusing or challenging or anything like that. In his case it’s tricky because he already has a huge spot light on him and social makes that light bigger.

For the rest of us, social media is tricky because of three key points.

1.) People can share everything instantly and widely.

2.) You can’t control what people share.

3.) Most people don’t take the time to understand the platforms they are using.

The first two you can’t control unless you choose to be extremely private, lock down your accounts and interact with no one. Case in point…I shared something about a friend of mine and he was extremely offended that I had shared it. He considered the issue, not for public consumption with my audience.  He himself had shared the same information publicly, so I didn’t see a problem with what I had done until he told me so.   It was not meant in disrespect or to create problems but I didn’t learn until later that it was something he didn’t want shared.  My point…no one knows what you are willing to have shared unless you tell them. Lesson learned? If you don’t want something shared…DON’T SHARE IT.

The third is all up to you. 

Once you get your head around those three points, the rest is easy and the tricky part is gone.

If you are on social and not in an anonymous way, live with two thoughts. “Is this something that I want the whole world to know about?” and “What would my loved ones/boss/mom think about this?”

If you are anonymous, just live with one thought? “If my identity is discovered, will how I’ve carried myself here create problems in my life?”

One more thing. I really like Kelly Ripa, but I have to take issue with her for one thing she said, “It happens to everyone.” NO IT DOESN’T Kelly. It happens to people who make poor choices or bad decisions. I wonder if her take on it would have been the same if it was a 35-year-old man hitting on her daughter?

Take away: Learn the tools you use, balance risk, assume everything is available for all to see.

Last point to ponder…Franco has a new movie coming out with eerily similar plot lines to what just happened. He also is a very intelligent man and in the media…

Could it all be a hoax to help promote his new movie?? :)


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Photo Tagging and more with Twitter

Twitter announced today on their blog that they will start to roll out a couple of new features.

1.) Tagging Photos

2.) Adding up to 4 photos in one Tweet

In the world of visual content this is a move that just makes sense for Twitter to do. Facebook has allowed multiple pictures in a single post for quite a while now and it really is great to see some of the content that can be made with multiple pictures.

iPhone users will see the new changes first, followed by Android according to the blog.

As soon as I read this, I updated my app so that I could try it out…alas, nothing for me yet. Soon though I hope.  But, what was already in place was the new privacy settings on my account via the web.

New privacy options

New privacy options

Twitter says that you will be notified when someone tags you in a photo.  So, I looked at my notification settings and there isn’t any changes there as far as notification options go. I hope this changes, otherwise it seems the default will be to notify everyone at all times that they have been tagged.

The tags won’t have any impact on your character count in a Tweet either. Tag up to 10 people and you still get use of your precious 14o characters…that is a great move!

The way you add a photo to a Tweet won’t change. What changes is the option to add more photos to a single tweet. When you add photos now, the option to tag people comes up.

I can’t wait to see some of the great content that people will be able to put together with the extra photos. I’m already working on ideas for some things to try out.  Have fun with it, but remember, to check your settings and make sure you pay attention to your notifications!

For the original Twitter Blog on these new changes, click here.

For the Twitter Help Centre article on how to do all this, click here.


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The Case Against Police Funerals

Tim Burrows:

I give no credit to the original author of the post that appeared in the Toronto Star regarding police funerals. Although by his title he may be very educated but he has no experience, nor did he really do any research to support his opinions. I think the response in this post by Rae-Lynne Dicks is worth the read.

Originally posted on Badge of Life Canada:
Reader’s Letters Friday Mar 21 2014

Re: ‘Offensive’ police funeral procession protestor wrongfully arrested, judge rules,March 17

Letter written by: Darryl T. Davies, Criminologist, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the actions of protestor Eric Brazau, who picketed a police funeral and then was subsequently arrested, you have to admit he does have a valid point. The fact police officers conduct a ceremonial march down the streets of Canadian cities every time an officer is killed raises a number of questions.
First, contrary to popular myth policing is “not” the most dangerous job in society. A recent survey shows that when compared to loggers, construction workers and garbage men, police do not even make the list of the Top 10 most dangerous jobs when they are ranked in terms of death and serious injury……Continue reading→
Related Story

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The Greatest Factor in Improving Police

Originally posted on improving police:

Thankfully, the line which kept women out of policing has now been crossed!

Thankfully, the line which kept women out of policing has now been crossed!

This month is women’s history month.

What better time to talk about the important role women have played, and continue to play, within our nation’s police.

Women have long worked in police departments in caretaker capacities such as jail matrons or youth officers, but it wasn’t until nearly half way through the 20tth century that they became fully sworn police officers (and equal to men).

In Madison, Wisc., women have now served in uniform for 40 years. When I arrived in Madison in 1972 as the new chief of police, women officers were limited to working with juveniles. They were further required to have a 4-year college degree (the men were not). They also were not permitted to carry a firearm, nor even compete for promotion.

When I interviewed for the chief’s job, I told them that I would integrate the department with regard to both…

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New Distracted Driving Fine in Ontario…yawn

Not a social media post…just an ex-traffic guys rant.

Distracted Driving Fines to jump to $280 dollars!! 

Photo credit: CBC News (online)

Photo credit: CBC News (online)

Oh be still my beating heart!!! The cost for putting lives at unnecessary risk for the convenience of “staying connected” will be $125 more than when the law was introduced. That is some serious inflation! Hang onto your wallets come March 18 folks.

I am sure this will change the behaviour of so many Ontario drivers that have learned how to hide their device, steer with their knees, text with one hand and many other creative ways to ensure they stay connected for that small period of time that they are driving. I mean, an extra $125 on the fine…people on mass will be saying, “Nope, it’s just not worth it anymore.” (Please see the sarcasm dripping from the corner of my mouth)

I truly do believe that this is a great step forward. Anything that adds to road safety is a benefit to all of us, but why stop at increasing the fine? Did you know that the minimum fine for driving without insurance is $5000? Do you know that there are still people who do that? Sit in a court room sometime and listen to the fines that the courts impose for that offence. $5000??? Not likely. So why will this be any different? People will tell the judge how sorry they are, that they only did it this one time and they have learned their lesson and the fine will be reduced…substantially in most cases.

As a friend pointed out on Facebook where I put this post originally, the fine itself is a cost of doing business for some people. Sales, real estate, brokers?? Do you think $280 bucks is worth the risk vs several thousands of dollars in gains? Of course it is. Do you think the wealthy people are really impacted by an extra $125 fine? Not nearly as bad as a low-income person…but isn’t the risk the EXACT same to both?

So let’s make it something that can’t be argued away…ADD POINTS TO THE FINE!! When did seatbelt compliance really take a noticeable turn for the positive? It wasn’t a fine increase…it was the addition of points to the fine.

Make it an offence to not have at least one hand on the wheel at all times when driving. No more BigMac and Whopper eating while driving. A coffee will still be ok as will a french fry or two, but the big meals behind the big wheel will be out.

Perhaps the government could see a financial gain in all of this. Add a new condition to the driver’s licence. Perhaps a new endorsement that signifies you have taken an advanced driving course and you are allowed to now drive and use a blue tooth device. Most people who have taken an advanced course realize how bad they are at basic driving and recognize a real driver focuses at the driving task…no others. You pay private driving schools for the course, then take your certificate to Service Ontario and pay a couple hundred bucks and voila, you are allowed to talk on the phone.

Make a driving education course that you can take online or in person to reduce your fine or remove demerit points after a charge. You get the benefit of a more educated driving core and make some money on it as well. Private licensed industry could offer the government designed / approved program. Take a look at Florida…they do it.

Why can’t you text at a red light? Simple…attention loss. Traffic (pedestrian, cyclist, other cars/trucks) change continuously. If you have your head buried in your lap you lose those changes. Then the car behind you honks…you look up, see your light green and hit the gas. What you missed is the cyclist or pedestrian right in front of you and bang!

Road safety is every one’s responsibility, so do your part and remember great drivers just drive.

Full article that accompanied the photo above.

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Branding the Social Badge

Here is my latest blog post for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Hope you enjoy it. Got some special help from Scott Stratten, John Morgan, Captain Mike Parker.


Scott Stratten: @unmarketing

Scott’s latest book is available here 


John Morgan: @johnmorgan

Pick-up John’s latest book here



Captain Mike Parker: @mpLASD

A look inside the brain of Mike


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Do we expect more than this?

A tweet from my friend @karimkanji caught my eye yesterday and at first glance I was a little surprised.

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 5.13.00 PMI’ve seen these posts before and I’ve used it myself to elicit responses for advice. I’ve talked to people who have also done this type of tweet admittedly to gain some attention. I couldn’t understand why Karim had a problem with it so, I asked.

ME - I look at what he was doing as a bit of an exercise of bringing attention to the upcoming budget speech by adding a “Looking for the public input” mask on it.
How do you see it?
KARIM - I don’t see it that way at all. Asking for public input into what he should wear is kinda silly. The direction of Canadian politics and economy is not silly. Wear whatever tie you want. I could care less. Ask me about my opinion on the budget and what should be funded, cut, downloaded to provinces and you’ll get a different response. 
ME - The big talk in social especially for governments and big business is to make themselves appear more “relatable” or personable with their online personas.
Is that not what Mr Flaherty was doing with his “I need help” plea?
KARIM - I think that’s probably what he’s hoping for. My guess – and it’s only a guess – is that he hopes to come off as relatable. But asking me which expensive tie he should wear is not relatable to me. 
ME - Have we come to a point in the social arena that we expect more from our elected and tax supported organizations than simply being out there?  Should we expect planned and coordinated messaging that provides value?
KARIM - I expect they behave (at least in social) more like Cory Booker and Naheed Nenshi. Be honest, don’t feed me bullshit, and engage. 
ME - What advice would you offer Mr.Flaherty for his social presence as an elected representative?
KARIM – Stop trying so hard to be cute. 
Is there anything else that you would add or would like included?
Maybe I’m just jaded by politicians but I wish they would behave like people who are privileged to serve the people and not as our over lords. 

It should be noted that JimFlaherty has Tweeted a total of 56 times. The Tweet asking for tie advice was number 44. Prior to that, the last we really heard from the Minister of Finance was about this time last year when he was preparing for, you guessed it…the last budget.

Karim is exactly right…don’t give us crap…give us substance. Once you give us substance, then you can have fun and be cute because by that time, you’ve developed yourself, style and tone in the space.

Right now, it’s just slimy to Tweet one time yearly and to only promote one thing you do.  I’m a fan and it bother’s me to see what could be getting wasted this way.  That’s not how you build a following. You build it through consistency, being on point and most of being authentic. By the way…I would have gone with the other tie.


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For those of you who don’t know Karim Kanji…I strongly suggest you take some time and get to know him. He is a digital strategist that is plugged in and knows what he is talking about. You can find him:




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13 signs that you’re a full blown coffee addict

Tim Burrows:

12 out of 13…I’m an addict!!!
Crap. I just remembered my Starbucks Via 13/13

Originally posted on Cookie My Lifestyle:

1) One Cup Is NEVER Enough


2) It’s The ONLY Reason You Get Out Of Bed In The Morning

Flickr: Jun Seita

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