Tag Archives: Online social networking

Tweet with the chief of the Washington State Patrol Wednesday

or everything, there is a first. And on Wednesday, the Washington State Patrol’s chief will forge headfirst into the foray of social media.

Chief John Batiste will host an hour and a half session of #askWSP on Twitter. From 2:30-4 p.m. Wednesday, he’ll be at ready to respond to whatever the Twittersphere throws his way.

“I love going to Rotary and Kiwanis, and other events where I get to hear directly from the people we serve,” Batiste said in a press release. “This is a simply a new way of doing what all good leaders should be doing.”

The chief said he’ll be challenged to stay to 140-character answers.

“I have big hands, so I hope people will excuse any typos,” he said.

UPDATE, 9/28: Batiste has been typing away this afternoon answering questions. To see them go here.

More from the press release:

Batiste will be assisted by staff who will quickly research any detailed questions. About the only topic off-limits will be those concerning active investigations. Questions that demand more than 140 characters will be more fully answered on WSP’s Facebook page.

You can watch or participate in the “#askWSP” event by following @wastatepatrol on Twitter. Questions should be tweeted with the hashtag “#askWSP.”

Lawyers increasingly checking social media sites to assess jurors

Surprise, surprise: The wealth of information many of us post about our lives on social media sites is being eyed by lawyers.

Last fall during jury selection in a murder case in Kitsap County Superior Court, prosecutors asked the potential triers-of-fact if they regularly “blogged” at newspaper web sites. The motivation by the state’s lawyers was to analyze their points of view to see if they could be impartial jurors.

Fast forward to this year in Maryland, where prosecutors argued successfully to redact juror candidates’ names prior to trial, to keep defense attorneys from Googling them before trial, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun. The judge signed off on the request.

It goes without saying that the more we participate in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the more of our lives become transparent.  They create records of our interactions, our ideas and our beliefs.

Police regularly Google suspects’ names during law enforcement investigations. So do we in the media world for the stories we write. I’d guess most people have conducted an Internet search or two (or many) to learn more about others.

So it is without surprise that our nation’s legal minds are also mining the Internet. Any information that could give them an edge — from finding evidence on Facebook that supports their case  to rooting out a juror that shows his bias commenting on news stories — is fair game.

Will there be courtroom rules to officiate such searching? So far, our judicial system, which moves far slower than technology, hasn’t caught up.