Ray McCormack has a great comment on the responsibilites of blogging http://www.fireengineering.com/index/articles/display/4231788221/ar...
What do you think of what Ray has to say and do have you any other examples where bad advice was given? Where you come from matters, what you learned while you were there matters even more!
I think that Ray has some solid advice! The idea that anyone can jump on a blog site and post whatever they want is always going to have risks but one thing that is pointed out very clearly by Lt. McCormack is that this blog started out ok, but then quickly went south.
The fact is that firefighters (especially new ones) read blogs, training notes, and magazines in order to learn. By having a blog that is pointing out "Spectacular feats of safety" but is not truly being safe at all, gives the illusion to less experienced firefighters that this behavior is acceptable....in Ray's own words "WRONG"!
Now on the positive side of this, because of blogs such as the one mentioned in Ray’s post, we have this blog which allows us to bring up “responsible blogging”. There will always be room for debate on a blogged topic and I think it is great (and definitely entertaining) to hear thoughts from others but, when a topic is attempting to show the right way to do things and fails, there is a lot more at stake.
There are blog posts all over the internet claiming to tell of great tactics and safety, some do and some don’t, but I tend to take the ones that don’t and look into the reason why. Just as Lt. McCormack did in his blog, he points out not only the flaws but the alternative solutions.
Let me start by saying that I always enjoy when I am able to read something by Ray McCormack. He has a knack for clearly and effectively delivering his point in his writing. Detecting A Clog is another example of how he hits the nail on the head.
I believe his thoughts on responsible operational blogging. I too have come across some blog posts where I did not agree with the tactics and may have found them unsafe. It is the responsibility of the reader to leave their opinion of what is unsafe, as well as the blogger to have a through understanding of the subject matter.
I also enjoyed his various blog categories. However I believe that many blogs will fall into some, if not all, of the categories at some point. I will use my new blog as an example of what I mean. I created my blog because of the culture of my department. I work for a larger career department that has a reputation for being on an “island”. We are a relatively young department with many eager firefighters. Unfortunately, most of the younger firefighters have no prior experience and because of our “island” status they do not venture outside the department for education. I feel this is for 2 reasons.
1. The department is not able to financially support members that want to attend classes. Members are also unwilling to pay for these classes.
2. The limited networking of many of our members also makes feeding this eagerness to learn difficult.
I felt that a blog was the best way to answer this need because there is no cost to access the information. By writing the blog myself, I am able to be the commonality for our members. My hope is that they will branch off my blog and continue to “keep fire in their life” as Ray would say.
To accomplish this goal I find myself sometimes falling into some of Ray’s categories in the following ways:
“Green Blog” - I have recycled material that I had used in other mediums to expose the subject matter to the newer members of my blog.
“Bandwagon / Sometime Blog” - The ideas and topics I discuss come from years of learning about the Fire Service through reading, attending classes, and teaching classes. Many of my discussions are not ground breaking, but may be new for my readers.
“OPP Blog” - There are times that I forward material I have found on other blogs. I do not attempt to pass this as my original idea. I simply want these excellent posts to reach a broader audience. This also helps build the networks of my readers.
Although there are times that Hooks & Irons can be dropped in these categories, I believe this helps me in achieving my original goal. There are still original aspects of my site that I feel makes it worth the time to write and follow.
Thanks for starting this discussion Chief.
I think he had some great examples. One blog site I visit frequently can get very frustrating to read. For a long time I did not comment on the blogs because it was just a bashing session. What did everyone do wrong and how "unsafe" they are or what poor tactics they used. The blog in its self is not inherently evil, we just have to take into account the information sources. Much like finding anything on the internet we have to be intelligent, and even suspicious consumers of our information and training we buy into.
I think the point "where you come from matters, and what you learned while you were there matters even more" is really shown in the following blog example. While watching fire attack videos commentators would keep saying "if you don't come off the engine masked up and ready to go" you were everything from unsafe to unprofessional, However I come from small- medium full time department in the Northwest. Here we are taught to never come off the engine masked up because of size up, and situational awareness. If we do come off the engine masked up it is being a lone ranger and unsafe. So who is right???? Well for us in the Northwest if I come off my engine masked up when it is cold or cool, my mask is fogged up to the point of no visibility in under 30 seconds. Now I am a dangerous blind man wandering around a fire scene trying to look through the occasional drip line running down the inside of my mask. What may be poor tactics or unsafe, for one, may not be for others depending on their situation and area.
I think this is a very good topic with a majority of blogging on here and other sites.
I think this is a similar situation to what has happend on the video end like on YouTube ect. The public and us see and read this stuff and think that this may be the norm for us or others. It only takes one of something bad to leave that taste in you for a while. To learn what is sound advice or unsafe comes with learning and understanding the situation and asking questions as to why, who, what when and then listen. After all the facts are taken into account then maybe we can decide and produce a sound and beneficial judgement.
In the bible it says in James 1:19 "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. I am not trying to push religion rather an idea of equality in a sense that I feel this is the way we should try to responsibly blog ourselves. I however am not much of a blogger, maybe because I am concerned about what someone might say if they were to disagree or were I to put in something I had learned that wasn't practiced somewhere else and may be unfamiliar to others.
Blogging is a fine line in our society today because it is often from ones own perspective and opinions and contains facts or techniques that may not have reached the far corners of the fire service yet. Like I said before we must weight each blog against it's author, content and effort from our own understanding of what we as a Brotherhood have come to know. To use clogged blogs to our advantage is a way to teach the young and old how to identify the safe and sound from the unsafe and potential disatrous.
Unfortunately, in today's cyber world, anyone with a computer and "Create a Blog" can have a blog.
Some think that on-line journals is a blog. Others think that if they title their entry as a blog and ask a question; voila'; they have a blog.
Op-Ed has been around for decades. I believe that it is the forerunner to blogging. Getting your opinion out in a blog is, in my mind, one of the most liberating forms of writing that exists. You are stating your opinion; whether fact-based or not.
But, a training blog is a different beast. The information had better be technically correct and you had better trust the source.
There seems to have been a proliferation of training blogs. It seems like anyone with a computer and a blog template are going into the act. That's not all good. Too many impressionable pups out there.
I would suggest getting together with your people once a week and ask them if they have read any good blogs lately. Chances are that you will find out who is pitching garbage and who is putting out good information.
I did a blog on the Art of Blogging. I'll have to dig it up to see how close it comes to Ray's .
I enjoyed his blog immensely.
At another website, the "blogger" holds all of the power. They can set their blog up so that comments cannot be displayed unless the blogger approves them. If the blogger allows all replies, but then doesn't like a particular reply, they can delete them. If they have an unpleasant experience with their blogged topic, they can delete the entire blog or shut it down to any more replies.
It's a wide wide world of firefighters. Opinions are just as wide. I don't believe that there is a pecking order for bloggers; some may think so. I like diversity of opinion. I will agree to disagree, but I prefer to do it respectfully.
What we do on the Internet is getting closer to home now with more and more from the same community and fire department checking in on some of the same sites. So, it would be easy for something said on a discussion board that could be construed as disparaging of a department to create some problems for the OP.
I would like to see common sense drive discussion. Unfortunately, common sense isn't so common. So, there becomes a need to legislate through terms of service or user agreements.
Newspapers found out the hard way that they couldn't allow for comments without moderating them. Their comment section lit up, especially on stories with a criminal theme and they struggled with the whole freedom of speech/freedom of press issue. In fact; they still do.
Many fire departments have fashioned social media use policies that addresses behavior and conduct. It doesn't allow for a freedom of speech perspective in its interpretation.
But, I like blogging.
Michael Bricault said:
-When a blog is started, more often than not, the blogger is looking for validation of their own ideas or actions and not truly looking for input on various ideas. After all, the intent of the blog is to solicit responses to a post.
-Rarely do we see someone start a blog with a scenario that solicits the, "what would you do" response, without the blog master answering each post like a school teacher. If the intent is to actual hear what others in the fire service do, then the posts should be just that; the poster's thoughts... free of the blog master's corrections bent on changing every respondents ideas to match his own.
-Otherwise, the writer can spell out a situation in which he tells of a particular response to a given scenario then solicit responses as to the validity of said actions.
-Additionally, we see many blog writers relying on their reputation or the reputation of where they work in order to validate their ideas or actions. "This is how we do it downtown, so it's right and you should do it too."
-It is very difficult, given the nature of the human condition, for most of us to be truly openminded enough to read someone else's ideas and weigh them, without bias, against our own thoughts, beliefs or actions.
-My suggestion to this is, if you are going to start a blog be prepared for opposition. Understand that in posting something you don't need to get offended or defensive. Remain objective and let other opinions flourish. Then we'll all learn something.
We have to do social media phishing training because we are Federal and also to protect our country and I think this applies to blogging or vlogging as well.
If you aren’t comfortable placing this information on a sign in your front yard, don’t put it on a Web site.
Treat social media sites like the newspaper. If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it!
RFB our Fallen Chicago Brothers and prayers and condolences to their families and friends!