Saturday, October 31, 2015

Communications is a Two-Way "Street"

@DalmatProd: "Hi. You guys did a helluva job getting that kid out of the pipe. Poor little guy! We can really appreciate those efforts."

           @123FireDept: "Thanks and thanks for the RT, Fav and Follow.

@DalmatProd: "Our pleasure. Please have a look at our blog at see what we're doing and how YOU can help us. And it doesn't cost a cent! Hopefully, you'll return the favor and Follow us as well. #StaySafe"

          @123FireDept: "OK, thanks."

And that is the last time we heard from that fire department. Of course, that Twitter conversation above is imaginary (and way more than 140 characters!). Nevertheless, this is a common experience and one that we've experienced many, many times.

Although we started the account in 2011, we didn't really get going with it on a daily basis until just about a year ago. When we started, we used the "Search" feature to find ID's related to keywords such as "Fire," "Fire Department," "Firefighters," "EMS," "Paramedics," etc. That got us started raking in the ones we "followed." Now, add in Twitter's "Recommendation" service, "You May Also Like to Follow," and lists of three ID's closest to my keywords and the ID's we've just followed. In no time at all, we had 30+ followers and we were following over 600! Using this same system, it did not take long for us to hit that Twitter's magic 2,001-Followed. That meant, until we convince a lot more folks to follow us, we we were not allowed to follow anyone else. Boy, that sucks! Big time.

Eventually, thanks to many of you who are reading this, we built up our "Followed By" numbers and as of yesterday, October 30, 2015, we have over 800 followers. Sounds great, right? WRONG! It sucks! Big time.

While we understood from the "get-go" that our tweets, especially from the point that we began to share conversations regarding firefighting issues, that we would most likely not appeal to "civilians," our belief, as naive as it was, was that once firefighters, fire/rescue departments, paramedics, EMT's, etc. saw that we were working on a new, dramatic TV series about the fire service and that we, the partners of the company, were all either current or past firefighters and first responders, that they would "Follow" us by the thousands! OK, well, by the 100's!! How about, "dozens?" Not that one either? How about, "here and there?" And that's the way it been ever since. 

As we became more familiar with Twitter and its nooks and crannies, we looked at a great many other ID's.  Additionally, we found that by clicking on "FOLLOWERS" on our ID page, we could see each and every Follower of ours. That too was eye opening. Why? Because we found people who issued their first tweet of a dozen just 10 days ago, having 20.8K Followers! People who quote sayings from the "Farmers Almanac," with 32.4K followers! Moreover, some of those who are following us, including individuals, departments, agencies, union locals and professional groupings, have thousands of followers as well. So, here we are, trying to target over 1.2 million firefighters (no, not each one individually!), paramedics, EMT, etc., and we're lucky to have earned the 800 that we currently have.

Last week, we sent out a tweet to our followers, asking very politely, that for those who have a minimum of 1,000 followers, if they would be kind enough to send out 1 tweet to them, suggesting they follow @DalmatProd and/or check out our blog, then follow us. We kept our fingers crossed and waited. And waited. And waited. Guess what! We're still waiting.

Are we angry, upset? Nope, not a bit! Are we disappointed? Kind of. Why? Because all the work we're doing is for you. YOU, not us! And the funny part is, we're not asking for money; any money! Not a red cent! Unless....Twitter has a secret charge that we don't know about, for referrals, suggestions, etc.

Why is increasing the number of our followers so vital; so important? Simple. At some point, if we decide to engage in a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to shoot the pilot episode, our adviser informed us that 800-1000 followers on Twitter was nowhere near the number of followers that need to express an interest in the project, so that we will have at least a chance of success with the campaign.

So, if you are one of our followers and no matter how many followers you have, would you please Tweet your followers and suggest that they take a look at us? We have shared both the synopsis, as well as a copy of the original script with some of you, asking for your personal feedback, based on your experience and reputation in the fire service. And while almost everyone of you wrote back how much you enjoyed the story and wished us good luck, we can count on just a couple of fingers the number of you who indeed did share our handle and/or blog, to your followers. 

In closing, one of the first and most important adages we learned when we first joined up was, "I got your back," whether you're behind the nozzle-jockey, caring for the surviving family of a LODD, or almost anything that is a part of our life in firefighting. We hope we can count on you to have our backs! Let's make communication a two-way street. Please.

Till next time,
Stay Safe & Every One Goes Home

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