Social Media For the Fire Service

I just finished teaching two classes in New Jersey on social media for the fire service. My class was similar to the one I taught at FDIC this year but much longer. Both classes ran from 8:30am – 2pm. The class at FDIC was a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes. I couldn’t possibly teach everything everyone needs to know about social media in even a week long class.

It seemed as though everyone was able to learn something at each class. The first class was taught at the Ocean County Fire Academy and the second at the Middlesex County Fire Academy. Both of these were very impressive training facilities.

Willie Wines Jr. accompanied me and wrote a short article about it here.

Attendees work on a social media worksheet in groups

We even had a chance to stop by and see the house from MTV’s Jersey Shore! Check out some photos here.

I have learned so much from teaching about social media. Here are some of the finer points:

  • Very few of the attendee’s departments use social media
  • Very few of the attendee’s departments have web sites which are updated
  • Many are very weary about using social media before the class
  • Most leave the class with an understand that social media should be used by their fire department
  • It is not easy to explain social mediums and how to use them
  • Training centers SHOULD have high-speed internet available to the instructors and attendees

The two largest hurdles for me were:

  1. Not knowing exactly what the attendee wants to learn about social media
  2. Not knowing what type of department each attendee is a member of and what the needs are

The most common suggestions on the evaluations were:

  • Having a handout of the powerpoint presentation
  • Offering examples of the social mediums during the class
  • Having internet available for the class to use via computer, smartphone, and for the instructor.

I appreciate any and all feedback on the class. As for having a handout, my powerpoint presentation is 100 slides. That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t overbearing. I don’t read from the slides and don’t have to stare at them to teach. I just have a problem with all the paper that would use. More than likely I will offer a handout in the future of the presentation.

As for offering examples, I did have Willie giving examples via his computer, my aircard (which was running slow), and a second projector that I brought with me. I only did this in the second class. It would be difficult for me to pull it off by myself…and it would be much easier if I had a high-speed internet connection! However, the training centers did not offer it for  my use.

All in all, the class was great! I could not be happier. It was great working for Kean University and I hope to come back in the fall to teach more on social media!

There is still a lot for me to learn….and teach!