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How to Get Your Stakeholders' Buy-In for Social Sentinel

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We applaud and appreciate your efforts to increase the safety and security of your community by implementing Social Sentinel as part of your multiple layers of protection. We recognize that your stakeholders may have concerns and questions about what Social Sentinel is – and is not – doing to help protect your community. Here are four steps you can take to get your team(s) as interested in implementing a social media threat alert service as you.

#1) Properly Frame the Challenge, and Your School’s Readiness to Respond

Begin by ensuring they understand the severity of the situation faced by schools across the country. A staggering number of public social media conversations take place every day, and it is the primary communication platform of our youth. Sifting through them all for a single indication of harm is virtually impossible for a team of one, or even one hundred. With 40% of threats made during the 2017-2018 school year originating on social media the addition of a threat alert solution is no longer a nice-to-have option, it’s a must-have.

Support the need to address the growing problem by outlining your school’s current readiness to act upon a social media threat:

  • What specifically are you currently doing to pay attention to threats to harm shared on social media and other public platforms? Is it efficient and effective?

  • Is your current strategy more reactive than proactive?

  • How do you keep ahead of social media’s ever-changing trends and technology?

  • Are you paying attention to the online conversations where they’re taking place?

  • Are there existing scenarios specific to your school that may be remedied with a threat alert solution?

Thoroughly framing the challenge, as well as the opportunities in your ability to respond, will build a stronger case for implementing Social Sentinel.

#2) Anticipate Their Questions

It’s natural for questions to surface when considering a new solution. Not everyone knows what a social media threat alert solution is, does, or how it works. Some of the most common questions we hear are addressed below so you can educate anyone who asks:

How could it help our school?

Social Sentinel’s threat alert solution provides insights into potentially harmful posts made publicly on social and public platforms that are associated with your community, including your students. It serves as an added safety and security measure; complementing the alerts or tips your organization already receives for evaluation from students, parents, faculty, staff SROs, security cameras, etc. Without an efficient solution like Social Sentinel, you’re missing a significant part of the conversation.

How does it connect a public post to our school/community?

Our solution runs in the background without the need for additional staff resources. It continuously scans social media platforms for (and only) public posts associated with your school or campus. Those associations pass Social Sentinel’s algorithms to generate alerts when a post’s language matches our proprietary criteria and entries from our Library of HarmTM – which contains hundreds of thousands of harmful keyword/keyphrase permutations wrapped around our data science algorithms. How associations are made depends on the individual social media partners’ specific terms of use.

Is every alert actionable?

Behind the scenes, innovative engineers and data scientists ensure the solution stays up and delivers the most relevant alerts possible. Some aspects of the system surprise new clients. For instance, you can expect to see some alerts that require no action.

Because the language of harm shares similarities with common vernacular used in other contexts, such alerts are occasionally triggered. Reviewing your daily system report keeps you abreast of actionable and non-actionable alerts associated with your account. Recent enhancements to our system’s foundation helped us reduce the number of non-actionable alerts (false positives) by as much as 80% in 2018. On average, our clients receive no more than a handful of alerts in any given week.

What about privacy?

Everyone can agree on the need for implementing safety and security measures in schools. But that simple concept becomes instantly complex when the discussion turns to how you provide more safety and security while respecting privacy.

Decades ago the introduction of CCTV security cameras brought on the debate about being surveilled without knowledge or approval, even under the premise of maintaining safety. We find ourselves in a similar position as we negate fears of being watched, profiled or surveilled unwillingly.

Social Sentinel was developed with one objective: to help prevent tragedies by creating awareness around signals of harm communicated publicly through social media and public platforms. From the beginning, the solution was designed to address concerns of safety and privacy – all while responding to a growing trend of authors telegraphing acts of violence or harm on their social media accounts. Social Sentinel scans content, not people.

#3) Position Social Sentinel as an Added Layer of Protection

Including Social Sentinel as a component of your safety strategy helps you stay on top of threats and avert potential tragedies before they occur. Avoid framing it as a single replacement for your community’s current means of receiving insights of potentially harmful activity. Instead, explain that Social Sentinel serves as an additional layer of protection – one that closes the gap to the largest source of conversation.

#4) Ask Us for Help

If your team poses a question you can’t answer about the solution, a member of our team will gladly help you. Feel free to visit our FAQ on our website, or reach out to us to learn how we’ve helped your peers get the buy-in they needed to move forward.

Getting buy-in can be a challenge – especially when it comes to new or unknown technology. Having a complete picture of your current social media threat alert needs, and how a solution like Social Sentinel can help address them will make the process less arduous for everyone