If you’ve been reading this blog it should come as no surprise that I have been critical of the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) for policies, performance, and especially their initial lack of a social media presence. Over the last few years, they have in fact established a better presence although their use of it was still, in my opinion, severely lacking high quality content. What many of you may find surprising is that while I may have a history of being critical, I can also be complimentary when I feel the situation calls for it although it tends to be a rare occasion worthy of notation.
Mark down the date and time because yesterday FDNY‘s Twitter account, @FDNYnews, tweeted about the helicopter crash in the East River… and they did a damn good job of it.
The first tweet was short, simple, and to the point. The second tweet included a photo of the responders. The third tweet was a plain english situational report. The fourth tweet showed another picture of the response. The fifth, sixth, and seventh tweets continued to report on the situation as it unfolded and named FDNY Ladder 7 as one of the rescuing units.
While tweets nine and twelve also had photos, where @FDNYnews really excelled in tweets eight, ten, eleven, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen because those tweets were responding to other Twitter users asking about the incident. It’s important to note that a few of those other users were actually media outlets and @FDNYnews was able to tell their own story directly to the public as well as these outlets.
My absolute only critique of the entire episode would be the use of the word reported in that first tweet. While I always caution against disseminating “reported” information and rather wait for confirmation, I can easily overlook it on an event that was “reported” correctly. Of course, had this not been the case, I would not be as forgiving and neither would the public who trusts @FDNYnews to be a reliable source of information.
Regardless of that miniscule criticism, kudos seriously needs to go to @FDNYnews and their social media personnel behind the Twitter account yesterday. That is a fine example of how incident information can, and should, be disseminated via social media and is something Washington DC FEMS Communication Director Lon Walls should take notes on considering his epic Twitter fail.