Residents of the Burlingame and Hillsborough area are invited this Saturday night to take part in the San Mateo County sheriff's first-ever "virtual ride along," an experiment using social media to communicate with residents in real time.
Dep. Rebecca Rosenblatt, the department's public information officer, will be riding with deputies on patrol from 6 p.m. to midnight March 2 in San Carlos, about 10 miles southeast of Burlingame and Hillsborough, and she'll be using social media to post info about what they're up to in real time.
It's the first social media ride along for the department, and there will be more in the future, elsewhere in San Mateo County, Rosenblatt said Tuesday in a phone interview.
"I will be tweeting, primarily, updates about what we're doing, whether it's a dog barking call, a theft, whatever, as well as interesting facts about the sheriff's office and San Carlos," Rosenblatt said.
To follow Rosenblatt on Twitter, search for the handle @SMCSheriff, and during the ride along use hash tag #SMCVRA. On Facebook the page to follow will be www.facebook.com/SMCSheriff, Rosenblatt said.
"Anybody using the hash tag #SMCVRA can follow us," Rosenblatt said. "They can follow up and ask me questions on Twitter, and I'll be able to respond in real time. It will be like being on a ride along short of being in the car. It will be a personal effort to let people know there's a real person there answering questions."
"It will primarily be on Twitter, but we'll make on effort to post photos on Facebook too, for people who are not Twitter savvy," Rosenblatt said. "We hope people will check this out and we're interested to see how people respond."
Rosenblatt said she doesn't intend to utilize video on this first virtual ride along, but she'll be looking into that in the future.
"We're very interested in taking advantage of all the social media platforms available," Rosenblatt said. "We'll be looking at YouTube channels in the near future."
For more information about the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, visit www.smcsheriff.com.