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Do Emergency Managers Have a Personality?
April 23, 2013
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Of course we do, but we don't often show it.

That's why I was so happy to see the Emergency Management Magazine article last week that was profiling various public safety and emergency management agencies in Edmond (OK), Albany (NY), and Tampa (FL) who had made videos of their version of the "Harlem Shake" internet fad.  While I don't know exactly what happened, I imagine some ambitious public safety personnel went to their boss (who then went to their boss) to a ask permission to this make this video.  The conversation probably went something like this:

"Can we make a Harlem Shake style video where we all dress up in strange outfits and dance around for 30 seconds?"

"Why?"

"Because everybody is doing it and it's HOT on the internet."

"Uh huh."

"It will be great.  They'll love it."

"Uh huh."

But somewhere in there, somebody realized that it's okay to have some fun and show a little personality.  It's important to maintain professionalism and purpose, but it's also okay (especially in an ever changing social media world) to relax and enjoy the ride.  While some members of your community (possibly including your boss or elected official) may object to fun imitation videos (see Gangham Style and Call Me Maybe as well) the community will greatly enjoy it because you show that you are human just like them.  You are more likable, more approachable, and far more apart of the community which is critically important before, during, and after emergency events.

I don't emergency managers will ever start an internet fad, but we can always ride the wave with our community and have a little fun while we do it!

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