Log in to Twitter any given day and you are sure to see at least one tweet from Mumbai Police. While Twitter users praise the police, both for their sharp wit and their prompt response to complaints, one woman remains in the shadows, silently managing the account along with her team.
Meet Sunchika Pandey, journalist-turned-social media consultant who has a big hand in the runaway success of the Mumbai Police’s Twitter handle since it was set up in 2012.
Try to trace the beginning of her journey and a modest Ms Pandey says that she just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Her stint as Project Head, Content, for the TV show Satyamev Jayate, helped Ms. Pandey understand the reach and power of social media platforms early on.
“Though I had moved on from news, my interest in the work of the police department refused to let the crime reporter in me die down. I had understood that digital is the medium of the future and requested the Mumbai Police to allow me to explore how the police-public relationship could be redefined. The department, too, was pondering on exploring this evolving medium. The rest, as they say, is history,” Ms. Pandey says.
For the next several months, Ms Pandey and her team engaged with men and women in uniform to find the perfect mix of wit and seriousness. It was no mean feat for the police too, having till then worked the traditional way.
“I credit Mumbai police for the brave move because, let’s be honest, the threat of people pouncing on the opportunity to target them on an open platform was real,” says Ms.Pandey.
For Ms. Pandey, the journey was only starting. Over the next seven years, she went on to handle the Twitter accounts for Thane and Pune police, tied up with the Uttar Pradesh police and was consulted by the Assam police for their Twitter debut.
Ask her what next and she says quickly, “I never miss the opportunity to tell the story of my father, who simplified the answer to this tough question by posing a question of his own. ‘Would you choose between a ‘safal’ (successful) and ‘sarthak’ (meaningful) jeevan (life)?” I will continue working towards a meaningful life by doing meaningful work no matter what the medium is. That’s what I wanted to do as a journalist, and I do as a social media content manager.”