15yr old Ceara Wooller-Johnson has taught me a lot about life the past 8 weeks! Ceara was assigned to be my summer student in Toronto Police Service Corporate Communications in my role as “Social Media Officer”. The program she was working in is called the Youth In Policing Initiative, and employed 157 students this summer aged 14-17. I have seen Ceara mature into an amazing human being, and the life skills she acquired that will get her a job in the future are hopefully what she, and her family expected!. Two other “YiPi”s who really influenced me were “Zar” and “Illy” who were assigned to the Duty Desk at Toronto Police HQ.
The key point I want to make as a cop writing this blog, is that I learned more from Ceara, Zar and Illy than they learned from me as a cop! They most likely don’t realize how much they have taught me, and don’t realize that I will carry their life lessons with me every day carrying out my duties.
Before I knew these kids well, I was honored to do this talk with them, that we live streamed to Youtube using Google Plus Hangouts On Air, and had a lot of fun doing it! Watching this video will give the viewer a glimpse at where kids are communicating using social media. From my observations from the outside looking in, text message, and Facebook are the most active!
Our first day together, we were honoured to be invited to the Angel Freedman show in Toronto to discuss youth and social media. Zarnain was very well spoken in standing up against derogatory comments that had been posted on a photo I had posted to my official Toronto Police Service facebook profile of Zar and Illy both wearing a hijab working at the front desk of Toronto Police HQ. It is worth watching the video of the TV episode here:
Jeff Pulver, of Voice Over Internet Protocol and #140conf fame says every company needs a “Chief Listening Officer”. In a role of a social media officer, it is important to listen to what people are saying! Ceara, Zar and Illy have taught me how to listen better, and I thank them for that.
I think it is important to share how these young people communicate, and who they communicate with for the readers of this blog. Text messages and communicating with her friends is the short answer. She doesn’t have a facebook profile or page, has a twitter account but she doesn’t really use it. She watches videos on youtube primarily, but will go anywhere to watch a video on the Internet. Ceara now has an e-mail account on gmail as a result of creating one on her first day of work in order to accomplish her job tasks, mostly of editing video. She also now has Google Plus, which she thinks she may use ‘sometimes’. She updates her Tumbler regularly, as is active on Instagram. Her smart phone doesn’t have a data plan, just text and talk.
Some people would read the above and come to the conclusion that “Facebook Is Dead”. I don’t think so! Ceara’s two friends, Zarnain and Illy (pictured above) are very active on Facebook, as are an overwhelming majority of the 157 summer students.
Upon reflecting on Ceara’s last day, I think the title of the article says it all! This post is not about social media, it is about connecting with people with the purpose of community success and safety. Whatever process is in place to foster this connection, be it a program or a social media platform, we, as people need to take advantage of it. This is “The Experience of Understanding Everything” as Ceara says! … quietly!
Thanks kids! .. All the best… let’s stay connected. Your service is appreciated!
Attached is a list of videos that Ceara was instrumental in editing this summer:
Cops BMX & Graffiti Art | Positive Experiences For Youth Celebrating Community Success & Safety
Clayton Wright Toronto Homicide Witnesses Call Det Sgt Wayne Banks 416-808-7411
Graffiti Art vs. Vandalism City of Toronto Officials Explain Difference
Graffiti Art To Make Ossington Ave Toronto Community Laneway Into Tourist Attraction
Info Sharing Key To Safety ~ Toronto Police & US Marshals International Fugitive Conference 2012
Mac’s Convenience Stores @MacsCrimeBuster & Crime Stoppers Social Media For Success & Safety
Toronto City Councillor & OCAD Grad / Graffiti Artist Interview At 311 App Launch Press Conference
Bob Paudert: Sovereign Citizens (Freemen of the Land) Toronto Intl Fugitive Investigators Conference
Thanks to Constable Nathan Dayler for the live stream of YiPi Graduation 2012 from the MacDonald Block at Queen’s Park on Thursday August 23, 2012. A great way to remember a great summer!