Grammatically Correct Confusion

I read a lot of blog articles about Social Media in Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, First Response, etc.

Lately, there have been conflicting lines of thought regarding grammar in Social Media posts.

The Advanced Public Information Officer training, at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, stresses “Flawless Grammar” in Social Media releases.

However, Cheryl Bledsoe (@CherylBle), at the SM4EM Blog responds with,

“…The Twitter community will ask you to provide timely, relevant and interesting information. Accuracy is good, too, although in dynamic situations may be a little tricky. I’ve heard it said that you can be timely or accurate, but rarely both at the same time. Your community will forgive you for inaccuracies as long as you quickly correct misinformation and communicate regularly.”

Ok, this makes sense.

Over at the IACP Center For Social Media’s blog, Billy Grogan (@ChiefGrogan), in a piece titled “The Grammar Police,” writes”

“…Although some shorthand is used on certain social media sites like Twitter, because of the character limitation, that should not be the norm. It is important that the massage the department is trying to convey is clearly and accurately represented so the department’s social media followers will get it. Some posts may offer critical information that could place the public in danger if misunderstood.”

His blog post is riddled with subtle spelling errors, in an effort to draw attention to his words, and the impact that poor grammar can have to the overall message.

After reading these two blog posts, which seem to contain contradictory suggestions, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes the importance of the message outweighs the need for 100% flawless grammar…depending on the Social Media platform.

Posts on Facebook, or blog posts with critical information? Absolutely, you had better run your prose past a proof reader first.

On Twitter, with it’s 140 character limit, you might need to exercise the editorial pen quite a bit. However, keep in mind that your customer (general public, residents, etc) need to be able to understand what you post, as well as understand the importance of it.

Not sure what to abbreviate, or how?  Check out Webopedia’s Twitter Dictionary.

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How can we do it better?

I have determined that there are roughly 35,000 Facebook groups devoted to the city of Maricopa, where I reside. There are 7,000 that are solely devoted to selling, buying, giving away and hoarding stuff. And then, every development in town has their own community group (or 10-12).

There are groups for crime prevention, crime rumor proliferation, and there are probably a few secret ones for crime planning, as well.

All of this data to sift through, and that’s only one Social Media platform.  The PD has one person dedicated as the Public Information Officer.  It is physically impossible for him to do his PIO job, as well as keep an eye on what’s happened digitally in town.

The Block Watch coordinator is trying to get a handle on some of the rumors, but it’s too much for her, too.

I think it’s time to go to the Chief with a proposal for the VIP volunteers. Maybe some of us could help the PIO with the “connecting with the people” details online.

Something has to be done, and failure is not an option. We cannot afford to not engage our customer in their desired mode.

The answer to, “Is that the best you can do…” …is always no.
A better question is, “what resource would enable you to do even better?”

We have the technology, the volunteers and the desire to get it right.  We just need to take the next step.

(Hat tip to Seth Godin’s blog. Also, group count might be slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect.)

100 Years of ARRL

This year, the American Radio Relay League celebrates it’s 100th birthday.

They’re celebrating all year long. Here is a PDF document with information.

What will the next 100 years bring us? Even smaller radios? More options in the palm of your hand?

Maybe now is the time for you to get your License, if you’re not already a ham.  If you are a Ham, are you active?  Need a new radio?

HamUniverse.com wrote a neat little article about purchasing your first radio.  Here it is.

Tips for Choosing your First Radio for Your Ham Station and getting on the AIR! By N4UJW

Maybe join a ARRL Affiliated Club in your area, too. Become active in your community.

Become Radio Active in 2014!

73, de n7fan

Link

Have you seen this?  The Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide?

“The Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide (AUXFOG) is a reference for auxiliary communicators who directly support backup emergency communications for State/local public safety entities or for an amateur radio organization supporting public safety.

“This reference guide contains information about AuxComm best practices, frequently used radio frequencies, Mutual Aid channels as well as tips and suggestions about auxiliary emergency communicators integrating into a NIMS ICS environment to support communications for planned events or incidents. It can serve as a reference both for auxiliary emergency communicators and public safety communications professionals.”

Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide

Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide

Have you seen this?  The Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide?

“The Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide (AUXFOG) is a reference for auxiliary communicators who directly support backup emergency communications for State/local public safety entities or for an amateur radio organization supporting public safety.

“This reference guide contains information about AuxComm best practices, frequently used radio frequencies, Mutual Aid channels as well as tips and suggestions about auxiliary emergency communicators integrating into a NIMS ICS environment to support communications for planned events or incidents. It can serve as a reference both for auxiliary emergency communicators and public safety communications professionals.”

Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide

ARES and CERT

One of the groups I belong to on LinkedIn.com has just finished up a long discussion on Community Emergency Response Teams and Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

I’m not sure if any agreement was reached, but the pontificating was fierce on both sides of the discussion.

And now, to toss some fuel onto the embers of the fire, the ARRL released their weekly newsletter, and advocated for ARES members to get involved in CERT!

New Year’s Resolution: Become a CERT Leader

ARES and CERT

One of the groups I belong to on LinkedIn.com has just finished up a long discussion on Community Emergency Response Teams and Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

I’m not sure if any agreement was reached, but the pontificating was fierce on both sides of the discussion.

And now, to toss some fuel onto the embers of the fire, the ARRL released their weekly newsletter, and advocated for ARES members to get involved in CERT!

New Year’s Resolution: Become a CERT Leader