A threat can come from anyone, anywhere, anytime. And staying on top of potential threats is increasingly more complicated in our digital world. As more signals of harm become communicated through social media, we have an opportunity to become aware and intervene to avert a tragic situation. But creating awareness of social media activity can mean different things to different people. To some, it can conjure up misconceptions about what a social media threat alert service (SMTAS) does as opposed to something designed specifically for monitoring. In this article, we break down what the differences are between these services, so you have the right information to make informed decisions that best support your efforts to keep your community safe.
Schools want a solution that provides insight into threatening language directed at individuals or entire student populations. But sifting through every student’s public social presence post by post, channel by channel, is unrealistic and ineffective and highly unethical. School safety teams turn to either a monitoring solution or a threat alert service as part of their overall safety strategy. Understanding the difference is crucial and useful when communicating your strategy to your constituents.
- Social media monitoring tools are typically used to crawl public posts (not only social media) and listen for online chatter about a specific item of interest.
- A social media threat alert service also scans public posts but focuses on assessing and alerting of potential threats against schools districts, students, faculty, staff, property, or individual students to those tasked with protecting their well-being and safety.