JM: Maybe my wife and my parents — my grandpa was a preacher so it’s very corny and pun-based humor a lot.
DTH: How does one perfect a tweet?
JM: I’m still working on the answer to that. We try to come up with ideas or interesting hashtags based on what’s popular in culture at the time. We did one during the snow event we had this year, our hashtag was “snermahgerden.” I always thought it was funny the way people would say that so we tried to squeeze it into a tweet to add some levity into something that’s fairly serious. But a lot of times I don’t include humor in things that are really serious. Perfecting the tweet is knowing when it’s appropriate to be funny and when it’s appropriate to be serious.
DTH: What should people learn from you?
JM: The human aspect that we’re just people, and that we have the same emotions as everyone else and one of those is humor. We take part of surviving what is sometimes a difficult job and imparting some humor when it’s appropriate. I think what people should learn from our social media is that we’re trying very hard to be transparent and communicate regularly with our community. If we can get more and more people to follow us, then that transparency exceeds even further. It’s like we aren’t trying to catch people speeding, we are trying to tell them to slow down. We tell people ahead of time that it’s not a speed trap. If you follow our social media, you know where we are going to be.
DTH: How has this changed the perspective of Chapel Hill’s police department?
JM: It’s changed some people’s perception of us in that we are not always serious, and there’s a place for some fun and levity. We want to humanize this job, and we are just people just like everyone else. My hope is that when people think this is funny, they will retweet and share with someone else and this spreads the message further and we communicate better that way.
DTH: How many hashtags are too many?
JM: I think two is probably enough, any more than two gets a bit much. If more than half of your tweet are hashtags, then there might be a problem, and it’s hashtag heavy.
DTH: What are people’s reactions toward your tweets?
JM: The comments we get are that people find them funny. The difference in that and the time when we weren’t using funny hashtags was that people were not talking about it so we weren’t getting the message across as much as we are right now.