ThisMoment

So I am checking out a new social media site called ThisMoment.com, which I will be experimenting with during my roadtrip with my husband from New Orleans to the West Coast.

Mostly it is an excuse to play with a new site and so far I am really enjoying ThisMoment. It has a smooth easy to use interface that is seamless and very dynamic. It is like Twitter meets Livejournal with a dash of Flickr and Youtube.  I think I am going to have a lot of fun with this.

Coast Guard application wise,  I think ThisMoment.com would be really sweet for an underway blog to get a deckplate level view following a Coast Guard crewmember.  You know me always thinking about how social media tools can be used for the Coast Guard…this one could be pretty cool.  Of course there would be security concerns (on the site you can release your location for example) but really? I think it could be a really great way to show what it is like, and because of the way it is set up it would be fairly simple for someone underway to keep up with on a multimedia level that is missing from Twitter. Pick an enlisted crew member, a non rate or whoever wants to, that is on their first underway trip to the Arctic, or someone who is doing their first patrol to wherever and share that experience. Not something for constant use like the Compass, or the Commandant’s blog, but for shorter term story telling.

So I am on ThisMoment.com tinkering around. Yes I know, I am also on Twitter (Tweetdeck I ❤ you), Facebook,  this blog, etc…how will I keep up with it all. Luckily much of it is integrated together and really when you think about it they all serve different functions. Twitter is a quick and easy way to give people updates (so I can stop answering the pesky question of where in the country I am now 15 times a day) and to share links for information. Facebook is obvious, a place to talk to friends share pictures, etc.

More to follow as I get more time to play with the site.

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Filed under Coast Guard, Social Media

Iran building towards a social media/internet black out?

Opposition supporters clash with riot police in Tehran, 20 June 2009

Opposition supporters clash with riot police in Tehran, 20 June 2009

In case you have been living in a cave for the last week or so (or have been otherwise cut off from communication not just by the Internet but around the water cooler, phone and everything else) here’s what is going on. There was an election, and a bunch of people were not happy about the results of the election. Instead of sitting around whining about hanging chads and complaining to their friends over a beer about how their party was robbed…the people of Iran are staging massive protests. Unlike here in the US where they use non-lethal weapons (Pellets, tear gas, firehoses) first…the Iranian protesters are being shot, beaten with clubs, tear gassed, you name it.

Sad to say but this is not the first time protesters somewhere in the world have been killed for standing up for something they believe in (coughChinacough) but the way the world is seeing and hearing about the whole thing is something considerably different than before. It isn’t the news media bringing us what is going on. It is social media.

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Facebook helps in SAR case

It seems a fitting way to start this blog by talking about this story, and how the Coast Guard used a social networking tool to find a missing fisherman. Essentially what happened is this: Call comes in that there is a truck and trailer, no signs of a meriner and it is past time where the mariner should have been sited. This means that the Coast Guard is going to search, and all searches are a little different. In this case they used the liscence plate to find a name for the owner of the truck…but before deploying assets (remember this part of the process from call to launch is vital, and can never EVER take too long) one of the SAR controllers decides to try something just a little different.

He searched on Facebook. As luck would have it…this worked and he ended up with not only an address but a phone number. Calling that number the SAR controller was able to speak to the fisherman directly.

I am sure there are people out there freaking out (OMG!! WTF! YOU CAN’T CONDUCT SAR USING FACEBOOK!!!) No…you can’t. You have to use the processes and follow the policies that are in place. That being said a good SAR controller is going to think outside the box and use any possible tool to successfully search for a missing person or vessel. Social media is providing new tools to the Coast Guard and this is just one more example of the plethora of uses we can find for it when we try.

Reading this article, and having championed social media to the Coast Guard for a while, I had this little voice in my head saying neeeener neeeener! Of course not being the mature choice instead I emailed the story to a bunch of people instead. A subtle electronic neener is much more mature than running around the office singing like a 5 year old.

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New Blog

Having just come from writing a blog full time, I realized that I enjoy writing daily and sharing information…so I am going to give launching this blog a shot.

A little background I just finished some time being the first official blogger for the U.S. Coast Guard, I designed, planned, built and launched The Coast Guard Compass. I had been blogging for some time before that, starting back in 1998, but the Compass was a unique challenge due to the nature of blogging being a bit contrary to the nature of professional writing as a government representative. More on this in the near future.

With that being said, I should note here (as you will also find on the about page) that this blog you are reading now is not an official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard. This is unofficial, contains my personal perspectives and opinions…and is no way endorsed by any organization governmental or otherwise.

What will you find here? Well a running commentary on social media efforts, in the world and in the government, as well as the stories about being in my career field. Here we go….

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