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Before social media, my “world” as an emergency manager included reach to my state and my neighboring jurisdictions. And, I used to marvel at the number of connections I had in that sandbox. It exceeded my life as a probation officer which included my caseload, their families and a judge in one single jurisdiction.

Once I began to dabble in social media, however, I find that it is not uncommon to be on phone calls, emailing and skyping people in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, France and yes, even the Republic of Malta.

You see, the subject matter is the same….we all have a responsibility to serve as a conduit of communications between incident responders and our communities. Life safety transcends the geography and our mandates require that we all sort the ever-changing landscape of technology and its impact on our daily lives.

The “best practices” that we develop in each of our countries have much greater reach and ability to be amplified in the social sphere.

Today, I like to introduce you to the hashtag #MSGU which is the French equivalent of #SMEM (social media emergency management) which means médias sociaux dans votre gestion des urgences. 

Now, you may wonder why I’d send you to a hashtag that requires Google Translate for many of us, particularly if you’re reading my blog in English.  Two simple reasons:

  1. I think it’s important to realize that social media makes the world global.  If you are involved in connecting with people, it is easy to find like-minded emergency managers, community volunteers and programs all over the world.
  2. To be truly effective in what we do, seeing different perspectives is vital to remaining fresh, creative and enthused about our mission and work.  I personally find it incredibly rewarding to read about the challenges in communication that folks have in other countries and I enjoy testing my ability to use translation tools online to practice (particularly as I may need to use these tools in a pinch if translators are unavailable to me locally.)

Guylaine Maltais runs a blog that is fun to read at and serves her community in French Quebec.  She is on Twitter at @GMaltaisPlanif.  Connect with her and say “hello” because it’s easy if you’re connected online!

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