It is often difficult to make sure people get the message when you only have 140 characters at your disposal to deliver it. The main issue is how to attract the attention of the right audience, people you actually want to engage with. Whether it is spot-on hash tags, relevant references or the type of language, Mumbai police seem to have found what gets the attention of their Twitter audience: humour.
To tackle issues ranging from drugs to domestic abuse, traffic offences or cybercrime, Mumbai police have cleverly understood that they are not going to grab the attention of the city residents with 'dry and boring' tweets.
We tweet because we have something to say and because we want to be heard. The way we choose to communicate on social media is key in terms of the following it generates. The Indian police have made themselves more accessible by adopting a very simple best practice: they are using the language their target audience speaks adding a little bit of humour into the mix. Interestingly, in this instance people seem to be taking the message seriously because it is delivered with some wit. Or at the very least they are engaging in the conversation.
I should try this approach with my teenage boys!
The Mumbai police Twitter account, launched in December, has turned into a social media sensation, mainly because of its witty tweets. Ahmed Javed, who retired as the Commissioner of Mumbai Police last week, told the BBC that the wit and humour on the feed was a "conscious decision"."We decided to bring in humour because that goes well [with the followers]. We also wanted to address a larger number of people, specially the youth," he said.