Carolina González is not a newcomer to the internet. In fact, she started out at the same time as Carlos Fernández Guerra, the community manager who has turned the National Police into the world’s most-followed law enforcement agency on Twitter, ahead of the FBI.
Because great achievements are rarely the result of a single person’s work, behind the police agency’s 1.75 million Twitter followers and 300,000 Facebook friends, there was a team of eight other people.
And their natural leader from the beginning was Carolina González, who has just turned 43. Now that Fernández Guerra is going to work for energy giant Iberdrola, González is taking over command of the National Police’s online presence.
Tweets are kept to an average of 10 to 15 a day. We don’t want to stress people out” Carolina González, National Police community manager
González admits that she is hooked on social media. What began as a game in 2006 has become an addiction for this mother of two, who spends her free time either surfing the web or running – another passion that she shares with her former colleague Carlos.
But unlike him, she is a fully fledged police officer. She started working with an investigation team in Barcelona, then was transferred to communication duties in Madrid.
“I always liked to communicate and I always liked the police,” says González, who has a degree in journalism. “This job brings together both of my passions, and to me that represents luxury. I couldn’t imagine a better post.”
González joined the police with encouragement from her current husband, who is also a police officer. That is why she is doubly familiar with the institution, where she works for the General Directorate’s press department.
The new boss does not sound too lost now that Fernández Guerra is gone.
“We have lost a colleague, we grew up together, he was our most visible face. But the content, the language, the online work dynamic was always the result of teamwork,” she says.
The team is made up of six women and two men. They are 30 years old on average, with backgrounds in the humanities, different ranks within the police, and a shared addiction to the internet.
“We are work colleagues, but above all we are friends and we have a good time together. The key to our work and our success is right there – that and keeping up the quality of our content, making sure it continues to be useful. The followers came, and they will continue to come as long as we keep providing them with a useful, interesting service.”
The main challenges up ahead are “continuing to innovate in new forms of communication, seeking increasingly direct contact with followers that enables them not just to learn about our job and to receive our warnings and advice, but also to participate and collaborate in the fight against crime,” says González.
Citizens are already contributing significantly with information that has helped fight drug trafficking, child pornography and harassment, she says.
“Now we have to insist more on hate crimes and homophobia – that is to say, other forms of crime that can thrive through social media,” she adds. “We need to make the most of whatever technological progress gives us.”
But tweets are kept to an average of 10 to 15 a day. “We don’t want to stress people out, either.”
English version by Susana Urra.