Using SOCIAL MEDIA in the Public Safety World. Part 1: “The Basics”

Our SOCIAL MEDIA Back Story

After many years of writing, we decided to create an online publication through WordPress, a platform creating blogs and websites.  This blog is specific to sharing, covering, broadcasting, recognizing stories, events, happenings, opportunities and photographic images with our readers whom are in Public Safety, about Public Safety and those whom support Public Safety altogether.

We use Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other platforms to share with you on many levels of information. Based upon the social media sites, we have been successful in broadcasting our many “posts” or “messages” locally, as well as around the world.

Using Social Media responsibly can reap many rewards from posting information about a Missing Person to an emergency alert broadcasted to citizens when an EOC has been activated and providing vital details to its citizens.

social media header for article

Definition of SOCIAL MEDIA

When you type in these two simple words, “Social Media” you will find a vast array of many definitions.  When this form of communication is used properly, you can reap the benefits.  Generally speaking, Social Media is defined as “Websites, Internet-based applications and other online means of communications used by large groups of people to share information.”

Purpose of SOCIAL MEDIA

Here are some examples why many users are implementing Social Media into their lives.

  • A fire has occurred in a certain location and a Fire Photographer has taken photos of the incident.  He or she wants to share the information with the media, colleagues, friends or let the general public know about the event that is happening at that moment or has already occurred.
  • An Emergency Preparedness Manager is offering classes to the general public to learn about Disaster Preparedness and needs to announce course details and information.
  • A large Fire Department has promoted several and takes photos of the event showing who has received this special recognition.
  • A reporter covering a story on a crime, writes an article about the event on their website.

This is just a tiny amount of examples, but there is a whole array of them with the easy possibility of filling pages and pages without too much brainstorming.

Available SOCIAL MEDIA Sites

We will discuss a few available Social Media Sites you can access, the type of website it is and other statistical information.  This will only be the “tip-of-the-iceberg” list as there are hundreds, possibly thousands out there.  You can access these sites at wikipedia.com/List of Social Media Sites.

  • Academia.edu – Platform for sharing research papers, monitor their impact and follow research in a specific field.  16 million users. Launched in September 2008 by Founder Richard Price.
  • About.me – Personal web-hosting service offering registered users to a simple platform to link Facebook, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.  Founded by Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas and Tim Young. Launched October 2009.  5M users.
  • Blogster – A Blogging Community that features specific-interest blogs. Registration is required.  Founded by Blogster Team. Launched in November 2005. 85,000+ registered users.
  • CaringBridge – A 501[c][3] providing free personalized websites to people facing various medical conditions, hospitalization, medical treatment and/or recovering from a significant accident, injury, illness or procedure.  The service allows family and friends to receive information.  Visitors are provided a URL and a password for access.  Website:  http://www.caringbridge.org/. Founded in 1997 by Sona Mehring.  Health Crisis Support field. 9.5M users.
  • Classmates.com aka Memory Lane – Originally created to assist members to finding friends and classmates from Kindergarten, primary school, high school, college and the military has now changed to appeal to older users.  Content is now focused to include music tracks, movie trailers, high school yearbooks and photographic images.  Created in 1995 by Randy Conrads and later taken over by CEO Mark Goldston.  50M users.
  • delicious.com – Online Social bookmarking storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks.  Optional registration.  Joshua Schachter, creator of GeoURL, and co-creator of Memepool in September of 2003.  8.8M users.
  • Facebook – General: Sharing photos, videos, blogs, apps and groups.  www.facebook.com.  Launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with college roommates Eduardo Severin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. For ages over 13 years old. 1.3B registered users.
  • Flickr – http://www.flickr.com.  Photo sharing, commenting, photography related networking, worldwide.  Launched in February 2004. 32M users.
  • Google+ – Social networking and identity service owned strictly by Google. It is described as a “social layer” as an authorship tool that associates web-contact with its owner/author.  Launched in June 2011. 548M users.
  • Instagram – Photo and video sharing site. Launched in October 2010. 150M users.
  • LinkedIn – Business and professional networking site. Launched March 2003. 200M users.
  • Pinterest – Online pinboard for organizing and sharing things you love. Launched March 2010.  Founded by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann.
  • Twitter – General.  Microblogging. RSS, Updates. Immediate messages posted to US and around the World. 645M users.

These are some of the Social Media basics that have touched upon and as we move along, you may discover a whole another realm of ways to reach out to your “Followers”, “Fans” and “Supporters” than you could ever imagine.

In the next article, we will talk about the Social Media sites more in-depth, the advantages and disadvantages to this highly discussed topic.

[Sources: Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress]

[c] 2015 The NW Fire Blog

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