Updated on Thursday, April 10 at 11:52am.
A group of seven Kansas Highway Patrol officers called the Tweeting Troopers is discovering the power of social media to spread information during storms, traffic obstructions or simply to post educational messages.
Trooper Gary Warner, based in Wichita, said he's been impressed with how quickly and widely tweets he sends are disseminated since the group was formed in January. He said it’s not uncommon to have up to 70,000 people view a tweet minutes after it’s posted.
“Very few things we do in that short of time has the potential of reaching that many people,” said Warner, the public relations officer for the patrol’s south-central division.
The patrol has had an official statewide account since 2010, said Lt. Josh Kellerman, the state public relations officer for the patrol. The Tweeting Troopers are the seven spokesmen for each troop, and a new recruiting officer also has an account.
"We've been using Twitter and Facebook for a few years," Kellerman said. "But with the localized stuff, you can hit the people you interact with, the people you are around. Having seven or eight more people actually do it really helps get the message out there.”
The troopers personalize their tweets, sometimes telling jokes or posting pictures of their families. In April, troopers gave followers an inside look at a shift with a “Tweet Along,” which is like a ride-along on Twitter.
Warner, who says he is part of the “older generation” that doesn’t use social media as a pastime, said he and his fellow Tweeting Troopers are still learning.
"We're still exploring," he said. "Other agencies have been engaged in it longer than we have and have seen some very positive things come from it - just the spread of information."
Click on the link below to check out the Twitter pages of some of the other members of the Tweeting Troopers: