Some fascinating examples of how social network sites can reset assumption regarding how they might be utilized in practical ways. In this case, the two examples below help provide situational awareness to people, enabling them to self-synchronize with what's going on around them - in this case, crime:
Earlier this week, Joseph Porcelli made my day with the following note:
My name is Joseph Porcelli. During the day I work for the Boston Police Department. Tomorrow there will be a major article about our new NING Social Network http://e13.bostoncrimewatch.com.
Boston Police was first police department in the country, first to have a news blog, first Neighborhood Crime Watch unit to have a blog, and now we are the first (I believe) to launch a social network.
Keep up the AWESOME work!
Holy Facebook, Batman! Let’s fight crime in Manchester, England!
Mark Zuckerburg’s creation has a new role. Fighting crime in Manchester, England. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) (reports TechCrunch UK) has launched a Facebook application which adds local crime alerts to your profile and news feed, getting the news about crime incidents out there to more youthful users of the Net than is normal for most police operations. Users can submit items via links to GMP on the application, and as well as news items, and even get GMP’s YouTube videos. The application appears to be the first of its type in the UK (I’m not sure about the world, but it could be a contender for that title). Quite who developed the app is as yet unknown, but I’ll update when I find out.