Since some of the readers out there can't make it past the first paragraph, here's the summarized version:
 Once a day (that's all you have to do) when you log into your social network, take a second and see if a brother firefighter/EMT is sharing a page, or an article, or their business home page, or even better, a fire department social network page or association page, and go to it.
 And if it looks like something okay, even if you aren't going to be going to it daily, "like" it.
You can even start with the Firehouse Zen Facebook page, if you want. Now, for those of you who will read more than one paragraph, my explanation.
I awoke this morning with a tremendous headache and the dread of having to get things done today, which in my life has not been a common thing. I am normally a morning person and like to get a lot done before anyone even wakes up, when it is quiet outside and I can enjoy a cup of strong, black, highly-caffeinated java in peace. So I was checking my e-mail and noticed a "project" I had taken on was working- slowly, but it was working. And it gave me an idea…
Some of you have seen my Facebook shares for a firefighter in Australia who happens to be a singer/songwriter and she was asking for more "likes" on her page. The day I caught that original share, I was thinking, we can help her. And we did. Then over the past few weeks, it has been even more successful, so that coming up on the New Year, she was nearing 1000 likes and being just under 100 away, asked if we could get that number up. And it looks like that is going to happen.
But then this morning I was thinking of all of the other requests I get on Facebook and other places and it occurred to me that social media has been pretty easily adopted by the fire and emergency service community because simply, we already ARE a social community. Honestly, I look at friends of mine who aren't firefighters and their pages have a few hundred friends or so, but I noticed that on my Fire/EMS friends' pages, a lot more people. Why? Because we already have something strong bonding us and we are more willing to reach out and trust one another simply by the fact that we are brothers and sisters in emergency service.
Likewise, my non-Fire/EMS friends are more often than not also tied to this community because of the positive examples you all exhibit (for the most part) and are more willing to listen to what you all have to say, or will "friend" you, etc. So as I was saying, I had an idea…
I keep saying that the lack of brotherhood in some of the comments, etc. is pretty depressing. We can only turn the tide a little at a time, so we have to keep working on that. But more importantly, we can use this scenario like we have for Lt. Dwyer and EVERY TIME WE LOG IN TO OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS, TAKE A MOMENT TO FIND A BROTHER FIREFIGHTER'S PAGE AND "LIKE" IT.
This does a few things; it drives up the traffic to their pages, which, if they have a business, bumps them up in page rank. The result is that if a firefighter has a hardware store in Lincoln, NE and is maintaining a Facebook page, they have to compete with other hardware stores all around the nation when someone searches the internet. But if we as brothers and sisters are driving up the page rank, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS benefit from our collective actions.
Another thing we do, and even more important than all that, is we point the way for others to see that a certain business is endorsed or "liked" by a group of individuals (the fire and emergency service brotherhood) that is seen as reputable, honest, and dedicated to their community. This draws on our values as being a good thing just like advertising in your church bulletin, or at the local Little League game or in the school newspaper. People associate our group with themselves and they too want to be like that. So it benefits our brotherhood again.
But lastly, it is the right thing to do. I have said before that "applause" is necessary when you are trying to do the right things. Viral applause on the internet through "likes" and "hits" and positive commenting is important stuff when you are just trying to get up on a Sunday morning with a tremendous headache and just want to know you are doing the right thing by posting something.
So here's the summarized version:
- Once a day (that's all you have to do) when you log into your social network, take a second and see if someone is sharing a page, or an article, or their business home page, or even better, a fire department social network page or association page, and go to it.
- And if it looks like something okay, even if you aren't going to be going to it daily, "like" it.
It is that easy. If we all do that, think about what that does to the final result. And even better, if we do this, it is a POSITIVE thing to help each other. We aren't tearing each other down, we aren't saying hateful things, we aren't buying into the rhetoric. We are simply saying, "This is a brother or sister firefighter and we are supporting them".
This should be interesting, because I'd really like to see if our brotherhood can reach out and do something as simple as this to support one another. It costs no money; it is easy; you don't have to send something; you can choose who and what you support; all you have to do is point and click. And if you are so inclined, you can even suggest a few, like I tend to do on my page, when they are trying to reach a goal of 100 likes or a 1000 likes, or whatever.
So this is a reasonable, easy, and cheap resolution you can add for 2013 that is positive and will help others. Let's see if it becomes viral or if, as it seems sometimes, the brotherhood is one that happens only when convenient.
If I don't post before then, have a great New Year and of course, if you have a page you want me to like, send the suggestion. I ALWAYS walk the walk, you can be sure.
And if you are really looking, I have linked all the ones I have shared recently down below:
Smoke Is Showing Fireground Photography – Looking to break the 5K mark…
Kayla Dwyer – Like I said, a fire lieutenant in the Australian CFA who is also a musician, wants to break 1K…
Kathmandu Fire Brigade – No goal, but looking to make their message known as they "Do The Job" in Nepal…
The Thin Line – Just sharing the brotherhood…
And like I said, if you have more, share them with me on the Firehouse Zen Facebook page and I will do my best to promote them as well!