17-001: A Shake That Never Happened #PIO #Safety #SocialMedia

17-001: A Shake That Never Happened
Agency: US Geological Survey (USGS) Topic(s):      Error message / human error
Date: 06-23-17 Platform:      Twitter/Email

Sometimes, US Geological Survey (USGS) computers have 6.8 sized hiccups which automatically pushed out info this past Wednesday. This caused serious concern as numerous Emergency Management professionals and PIOs desperately searched to verify information on any earthquake in California. None was to be found on Wednesday June 21, 2017.

As you can see, the date listed in the email notification isn’t consistent with Wednesday’s date as well as the time stamp of publication.

Even worse was the 140-character tweet with even less text/info that initially went out to their 679K followers (@USGS). With the magnitude and epicenter location in a well populated area (Santa Barbara CA), it is crucial that we have multiple sources to verify critical information.

As humans, our attention span has shortened. (SQUIRREL!) Likely thousands misread the initial date/time listed on the email. Even less took the time to click the link in the tweet.

USGS noticed the error and posted this explanation of the errand info. Emails were sent to explain the deleted event.

Obviously more than 140 characters, they screen shot a typed response and posted the image to twitter referencing their errant tweet. The USGS used this tactic to get more information and characters into an otherwise short 140-character tweet.

Whether computer or human error, fessing up to an error on social media is embarrassing. However, the ramifications of arbitrarily deleting info without prior public notification will gander your agency a rash of criticism from the most loyal of followers. Government agencies should strive to foster trust and transparency with all of their constituency. Not to mention, deletion of your posts must match your agency’s policy/procedure or SOP/SOG.

Three important tips to consider if an agency posts something weird:

  1. Trust, but verify information. Trust your social media intuition.
  2. Correlate data from various sources to make an informed decision for ongoing operations.
  3. Admit your mistakes. It happens. Human error is a thing.

Mistakes happen, but how you recover will either make you a hero or a zero. Maximize your efforts on social media including screenshots of your more-than-140-character-response.

Time is short, so tweet / email correct stuff!

@rusnivek

****Or download the one-pager here: AShakeThatNeverHappened-Safety-PIO-SM-17-001***

Maybe watch a quick video from USA Today

Are there differences in an Advisory or a Watch or Warning? #Winter #Weather #OHWx

Hello there! Do you know the differences Advisories vs Watches vs Warnings??

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Advisory – A less severe winter weather event that is imminent.

Watch – The potential exists for a significant or dangerous weather event.

Warning – A significant or dangerous weather event that is imminent

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Few other bits of info from the NOAA / National Weather Service:

Hazardous Weather Outlook – The Hazardous Weather Outlook usually provides three to seven-day advance notice of a hazardous winter weather event which has the potential to threaten life or property.

Short Term Forecast – Describes the weather in the local area and includes a short-range forecast (usually not more than six hours). This product will be updated more frequently when it is used during active weather. This product is also sometimes referred to as a “NOWcast.”

Special Weather Statement – Designed to alert the public to a short term hazardous weather threat within twelve hours of occurrence, which may require a heightened level of awareness or action.

 

@rusnivek

 

Immediate evac? Command decision? or Additional companies?

To my Firefighter peeps – Watch this video below. Few questions for you to ponder:

1. Just by observation, did the conditions necessitate the immediate evacuation from large residential structure?

2. Should Command have known of conditions in the 360/scene size-up to pull crews out?

3. Do Truck companies with tools and ladders or even a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) exist in other municipalities?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=128&v=NrUFYseJwBE

Share with your duty crews.

And more importantly, to all the Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!

@rusnivek

No complaining-offer solutions-Safety-PIO-SM-14-008

14-008: No complaining – offer solutions
Agency: Long Beach Fire Topic(s):         Public Perception and Solutions
Date: Fall 2014 Platform:        Twitter

Complaining or venting on social media is fairly common. However, as an official agency, public displays of affliction does not portray the best image. Long Beach Fire expressed some displeasure on Twitter when discussing the their pilot program.

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After reading this tweet, the public’s perception is that if 9-1-1 is called, no ambulances will respond. This is irresponsible and wrong. (Almost all emergency services have mutual aid agreements or memorandum of understandings in place.)

 

Positioning your agency as a fear mongerer or the Harbinger of Evil will only further distance yourself from people who would be willing to help your cause. Inform them of dangers, but more importantly, engage them publically on social.

 

If there is internal displeasure with the new staffing models, be proactive and offer transparent solutions in the tweet. Cite websites that provide industry information. Publically share statistical data that supports changes with current programs. These online tactics will help direct and educate the general public on how to be better informed on other program and possible other options yet unexplored.

 

Additionally you can rally your constituents behind better initiatives by engaging with them publically via social media. It demonstrates that your department’s community involvement is a key part of a better solution.

As an official account, Twitter’s 140-character limit is really no place to moan/groan.

A more effective tweet could have read:

LBFD resources are maxed out. #Firefighters cannot provide adequate #Paramedic service to our communities. Help us find a solution <insert link here>

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You identify that resources are…well…maxed out.
  2. You use hashtags (#Firefighters and #Paramedic) that will help increase visibility in your tweets.
  3. You stress the importance of providing dedicated service to your community.
  4. You provide a traceable/measureable link that informs and helps bring visibility to this critical situation.

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this file:

No complaining-offer solutions-Safety-PIO-SM-14-008

Sports heroes? Celebrities? Nope. These are the true heroes #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

It’s Saturday in the fourth week of 2014 National Preparedness Month.

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

Who’s watching football on TV?

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Practice for an emergency

#27: Sports heroes? Celebrities? Nope. But these heroes will always come through in an emergency #Prepared2014 #NatlPrep

Share with your entire family today what a real hero is like. Share your emergency plans with your entire family.

Friday night lights? Saturday College Football? Sunday NFL? None of that matters.

Look, you may not be famous…

…or get paid zillions of dollars per minute. Who cares!

Your preparedness and planning efforts will come back ten-fold because it’s your family. Family is everything.

Be your family’s hero today.

@rusnivek

 

Test em if you got em! #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

It’s Friday in the fourth week of 2014 National Preparedness Month.

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

Ahhh, Aloha Fridays!

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Practice for an emergency

#26: Are ALL your emergency flashlights working? Test em if you got em! #Prepared2014 #NatlPrep

Since it’s a beautiful day, I would be a great day to test all your flashlights.

A few weeks ago, I talked about having flashlights in case of an emergency. Now would be the time to test and make sure each flashlight is in working condition.

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Don’t forget about your helmet lights too!

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And for my friends in the law enforcement world, don’t forget to check all your weapon lights too.

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*I also had to change the batteries in my EOTech too.

Your preparedness actions now will definitely save you time during an emergency.

Reminder again, throw away all candles. Candles are dangerous and can start fires. Flashlights are WAY better for lighting.

Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

@rusnivek

Flashlights keeps your family together after a disaster #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

Rainy/gloomy Saturday, and I’m closing out the first week of 2014 National Preparedness Month!

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

Saturday Stuff right?

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.

#6: Have at least two (2) flashlights w/ batteries to help navigate in the dark & keep your family together #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

Week-01-Reconnect-CommunicationsGear

Pictured above is just one of the three flashlights that I keep in my everyday bag.

Reconnecting with my family after a disaster means that I have preparedness items for them too. It would be worth noting that each flashlight uses the same type of batteries and all operate/function the same (rear push button and twist-on action). This brand and similar power source compatibility allows everyone to have the same gear.

2 is 1 and one is none right? Well, I guess in this case, it’s 3 is 1 and one is none.

For those inquiring on my equipment specifics, I have a Surefire M2 Centurion, a Surefire A2 Aviator, and a Surefire G2 Nitrolon.

Also, a simple red tape marking allows us to easily identify what equipment is ours.

At night, a great flashlight allow you to quickly identify your family members amongst the sea of cheap weaker flashlights in the neighborhood. Trust me, at night, you want the best most powerful flashlights around.

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So have flashlights and batteries ready for all members of your family.

Keeping tools ready for your family is another important parts of keeping your family together during and after a disaster.

@rusnivek

A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter – Safety-PIO-SM-14-004

14-004: A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter
Agency: South Central Sierra Interagency IMT Topic(s):         Shared information/update
Date: Summer 2014 Platform:        Twitter

 

Speed is primarily the reason why everyone loves social media…especially Twitter. Many agencies use social media to provide updates and information when assigned to certain incidents. That’s what the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team did during the French Fire in California when they pushed this lonely shortened Facebook link out on Twitter.

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I get that 140 character max on Twitter is short…and you have lots to say…and you don’t have time…and blah blah blah. Everyone else doesn’t have time too. But pushing a non-descript link, does raise a concern that perhaps your account has been compromised by spam bots. Your agency has worked diligently to establish solid working relationships. During an emergency is the WORST time for your audience to question and/or ignore your official accounts with trusted reliable information.

 

If your social media plan calls for directing all efforts to Facebook as the primary source of information, a Public Information Officer (PIO) should still take the time to provide a little information (like a short description) on other platforms driving the traffic to that primary source. Providing just a link is not enough.

In the PIO business, we are forced to be precise, however just providing a link pertaining to a dangerous situation or disasters will not be enough to satiate the Twittersphere’s social interest.

 

Audiences change on various social media platforms, however, many agencies *think* they are all the same.

Knowing your audience is the hallmark of success. If you pair your Facebook and Twitter accounts to save time and to pass the exact same message – you should consider separating them now. Remember, you write/post/share information differently on various social media platforms.

 

A more effective tweet could have read:

Still assigned to the French Fire here in California-Check out pictures frm @BLMNational Interagency Fire fb.me/1BV35Tytx #CAWildfire

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You have more visibility by informing your followers that your team is still assigned to the incident.
  2. The link looks less spammy and readers know what the specific content is in the link.
  3. Your #hashtag will give more information about the current overall disaster/emergency.
  4. Your readers are likely to click on this hyperlink because it will take them to a picture. People love pictures.
  5. Your agency shows coordinated efforts with national response agencies when you use @mentions on twitter.

 

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

 

@rusnivek

 

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: ALonelyShortenedFacebookLinkOnTwitter-Safety-PIO-SM-14-004a

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Write For Different Platforms-Safety-PIO-SM-14-003

14-003: Write for Different Platforms

Agency: Rocky Mountain Area IMT

Topic(s):         Social Media Platform Specific Messaging

Date: Summer 2014

Platform(s):    Press Release vs Twitter

Despite the message being essentially the same, every communications platform is different.

Speed is important, but correctly addressing your audience is critical in the world of public information.

On July 1, 2014, this tweet was posted on the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team’s feed during the Eightmile Fire while deployed in Canon City, Colorado.

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“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” In all caps? All caps use on social media portrays yelling. Professionals should portray calm/control.

Twitter’s social media platform premise is a fast microblog service focusing on immediate information. This templated press release lingo (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) is not necessary. Every tweet is automatically time/date stamped including matching the recipients’ time zone. Do not waste your valuable 140 characters.

To me, this was a cut-and-paste action, or even worse yet, they just linked the agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts together. No time was spent in addressing the various platforms used to push this valuable information. Remember, PIO actions on each platform in social media are not generic, they are specific. We talk about safety to kids differently than we inform adults on safety right? Likewise, we should address our audiences on social media accordingly to the platform they use.

A more effective tweet could have read:

“Updated information & stats on the #Eightmile Fire ongoing in Colorado can be found here fb.me/6KArLmgFr

By phrasing it this way:

  1. The tweet is shorter and more concise.
  2. Tweet identifies where the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team is deployed.
  3. The main point of contact is identified on the Facebook link provided if more specific information is needed.
  4. Shorter messaging will allow your followers to retweet/repost and amplify your information.
  5. The use of hashtags will help audiences find information about the #Eightmile Fire and identify the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team as a trusted source of information.

Know the differences in mainstream social media platforms because what will work on one old platform (press release) will NOT work on newer platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) Know social media and use their amenities to your advantage.

 Time is valuable, so post good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: WriteForDifferentPlatforms-Safety-PIO-SM-14-003