As the prevalence of cyberbullying, harassment, and school shootings increase, social media monitoring is quickly becoming a valuable security tool for schools and universities. When a violent incident does occur, often one of the first things investigated are social media posts. Cries for help and threats of violence have become a regular occurrence, and schools are now seeing how early notification via social media monitoring can positively impact their response to a threat against a student or a facility.
So how does it work? Many programs utilize a geofence around a specific area, often a set mile radius around the school. Data from social media sources like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is collected and scanned for keywords that could indicate bullying, violence, harassment, drug use, etc. Those messages are flagged and a text alert or email is sent to school administrators for assessment.
Students, and even parents have voiced objections about social media monitoring being an invasion of privacy, but the fact is activity on any social media site is public in one way or another. Most school boards and administrators agree the security benefits are too great to disregard. Those same benefits are now being used by other agencies for security, as well. The NYPD and other law enforcement and safety organizations are utilizing social media monitoring services to assess possible terrorist threats in their area.
Security is not the only use for social media monitoring, however. The software has exceptional uses for marketers looking to improve their product or services. Social media exchanges have been used to identify and address customer service complaints, gain insight and information on possible public relations issues, and monitor conversations about brands to determine product upgrades or develop new products. Schools can use this type of monitoring to provide them with valuable feedback on their curriculums, extracurricular events, nutrition services programs, and even district voter issues.
Bold Technologies’ Social Media Monitoring module is part of the Bold MediaGateway, and works in conjunction with our Manitou alarm automation package. The module monitors Twitter and Facebook for the specific keyword parameters of the user, and can be used within a geofenced area or broader parameters.