As more and more folks in the emergency services are using various social media, we need to think about what we are doing with it.
I am a user of several different forms of social media but I have a rule. Just one rule, but an important one.
Never post anything that you will have difficulty justifying or explaining.
Thats it. No more rules have been necessary for me.
Unfortunately not everyone has such a good filter on themselves. I wont bore you with the various folks that have lost their jobs and such because of social media. Let me just relay a couple of not so obvious bad PR moves that I have seen locally involving social media.
First, the case of a department that has been trying to utilize the book of faces to recruit new members. They approached it in a professional and proper manner, giving point of contact info, including one of their officers book of face account.
Unfortunately, the officer in question is one of those folks that has a tendancy to vent all of his feelings online. So, the POC for recruiting online at times presents an angry, ranting personality online for all to see. Not exactly the image we should project in the recruiting process.
Another department uses the book of face to remind folks of trainings and such. They posted a while back about an upcoming drill. A couple of people posted about being able to attend or not. Then the day after the drill, a disgruntled member posted derogatory statements about the person who instructed and that they "didn't miss much" by not attending.
Again, bad PR. If there was a big enough issue to complain about online, it should have been addressed with the instructor OFFLINE, instead of presenting an bad image online in public.
Think before you post folks, just because you think it will be funny or harmless, think about how others may view it. Because in all likelyhood, they will view it. Literally. Then you may have to try to defend what you said and why.