I started to title this, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, but no matter what I did, that title wasn’t fitting really well. Soooo, as you may be able to tell from the title, I just wanna talk a little bit about being serious and not being serious. On any number of occasions, I (and a number of you) have ranted uncommented upon about firefighter safety, incident command, leadership, and any number of issues that are real, tangible concerns for the future of emergency services. Hey, wake up; I said THE FUTURE.
In the meanwhile, in the opposite corner, and serving its purpose (and I don’t want to take anything away from these posts, because they’re apparently what “the people” want), are forums on “The Word Association Game“, with 2320 comments at last check, and “Practical Jokes“, with 161 comments. These are two forums on Firefighter Nation, if you didn’t know.
Now first off, I want to commend these authors, because they have generated traffic like you wouldn’t believe, and they did it without running a picture of a scantily clad woman on the first page (which is also a guarantee for thousands of hits) and I think maybe this is a lesson we all need to look at and appreciate for what it tells us.
When I am going on about a subject near and dear to my heart – let’s take funding issues for an example – I find it relatively interesting, but admittedly it lacks the firepower of say, Firegeezer’s article on helmet types. Don’t be swayed by the 13 comments (which I would kill for, by the way), this baby is taking hits like nobody’s business. But people are PASSIONATE about their helmets (as I am, as you might already know) and they are interested in hearing more about what others think about the subject.
This all brings me back to the issue of marketing. I don’t know what I can do to make firefighter safety and emergency service innovations and leadership “sexy”, but I can probably make it more funny, and hope it gets your attention. I even hope it gets you to pass it along to others. I MIGHT even hope it gets you to say, “Hey, that made me think”. But the goal of most writers is to evoke some reaction (or even better, ACTION) in their audience and it serves the purpose of educating or enlightening others and the author gets feedback, which is important in determining whether they should keep writing, or find something else to do like Sodoku.
How would you feel if you were instructing a class, and you said something you really found important, and the whole class just sat silently and stared back at you (“is this thing on?”)? You’d probably be saying to yourself, “Did they miss that?” or “What part of that didn’t they understand?” I understand that it’s different here on the blogosphere, but it’s really not that different. Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you, what they really crave, more than the millions we make writing these things, is feedback.
If we all found ourselves in a situation where we had a message to pass along, but no one was interested in hearing it, we’d find ourselves in the same situation many of us are in as we try to advocate for improvement and for a safer workplace. Honestly, I already know a lot about what I should be doing to keep myself and my crews safe, but I think it’s incumbent upon me as an emergency service leader to pass this stuff along to anyone who wants to listen. The catch is, we (and I’m speaking for many of the authors of that deeper, less entertaining stuff) want to know if anyone is listening and there’s only one way we can know this, and that’s through feedback. And in providing this, not only do we know if we are getting it across to you, we ourselves also are learning in the process how to be better communicators and we are learning from you all through your experiences. Let’s hear what you have to say and let’s try to have fun in the process.