Every emergency manager will tell you that the last thing you want to do when activating an EOC or responding to some situation is get introduced to the people that you’re going to be working with. All of that should have been done before anything happened. By learning who is going to be responding and building a rapport with them, you can learn how best to work with them, but most importantly, learn to trust them.
These types of introductions usually take place in a face-to-face setting, “Joe, this is Lieutenant Smith. LT, this is Joe.” With the publication of the NRF, though, meeting one’s counterparts can be a bit more difficult. It’s just as likely that you’ll be working with someone from the local fire department as someone from FEMA or DHS. And how will you meet them when their office is in DC, or some regional headquarters? Well, that’s where the social media part of this comes in, we can meet them online.
I’ve gone back and forth about Facebook on this blog in an effort to meet people interested, or working, in the field that I’m interested in. I could never get around the … less than mature parts of the site. When it really is boiled down, folks go on Facebook to hang out with friends, not talk about emergency preparedness planning. So Jimmy Jazz on Facebook kind of faded away.
Eric’s post, though, reminded me to post on another site similar to Facebook, but that maintains a professional veneer, LinkedIn. Now, I’m (the real me) on LinkedIn, and find that it’s a great way to meet business contacts and make introductions. And I think that it could really be used to get people introduced to each other. Our hypothetical Joe knows Sally at FEMA Region 3, who knows Stan, the local FCO. Wouldn’t it be great for Joe to meet Stan? Without having to drive to Philly and set up a meeting and blahblahblah? I posit that we can do that – in one of these social networking sites.
Because really, in this world of JFO’s and FCO’s and
forced encouraged federal, state and local collaboration, wouldn’t be great to actually meet those folks who we’ll be working with before we’re — ahem — exchanging business cards in an EOC somewhere?
Take a few minutes on this last day of the week to take a look at LinkedIn.com. See if there’s anyone there you know, and any connections that you could make. Oh, and look for a person who posts pseudonymously as Jimmy Jazz.
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