It wasn’t a flattering post / comment but it was, for the most part; an accurate one (at least from his understanding / point of view).
The post didn’t bother me. The honest answer is that I actually never got to read it myself. I did receive a couple of calls asking me about it and what was going on between me and the Brother who posted it. I didn’t know.
It really didn’t matter. The Brother who posted it is more than a “long time friend” … we go WAY back and were beyond “tight”. I trust him still today and value his opinion. I don’t think either of us would intentionally try to harm the other.
He had to have good reason for making the post so I did what I should have done a few years back when we didn’t see eye to eye … I called him. We had a good talk and between the two of us, worked it out. Later, he decided to remove the post.
What I have found interesting is some of the comments that were made to the post and who said them (not the person who made the post).
It’s no big secret that Rhett (The Fire Critic) and I are not the most popular members of our Department… we’re ok with that. But, learning of some of the comments and who made them is almost comical and the reason for this post.
Apparently, I’m a “self promoter” and there are some members who take issue with that. LMAO …. I’ll say this… sure, Rhett and I both promote ourselves. We promote ourselves along with The Brotherhood, The Fire Service and so much more. We do so with good reason and I’ll explain a little of that in a moment. I’ll also add that I wonder if the members making such comments confuse “self promotion” with PRIDE because we have a lot of that as well (again with good reason)!
Back around 2005, Rhett started “blogging”. He noticed a lack of Firefighter or Fire Service specific blogs and worked to fill that gap. He was one of the very first to do so. It wasn’t long before I joined the ranks.
We were different because we were basically “breaking new ground”. There was no template or guide for us to follow. We had to make it up as we went along and we were fine with that. We would have to do it “our way”.
There has been plenty of “lessons learned” and growing pains along the way. They’ve all been worth it. We’ve been fairly successful and have grown into two of the Top Fire Service Blogs in the World (we’re HUGE in Iceland … LMAO).
It’s work and we’ve turned it into somewhat of a business for us. YES …. we generate money through The Fire Critic and Ironfiremen.com (links). I think that fact alone upsets several of the people we work with and the honest answer is that I could care less. I think what upsets them the most is that they don’t know just how much we are making …. LOL.
To be clear here, you CAN NOT buy a post on either site. You CAN’T pay us to take your opinion or point of view. You CAN however, advertise on our sites (if we like and believe in your product).
We offer this by affiliate marketing through a third party advertising agency or, by direct advertising on the web sites / blogs and associated Social Media outlets. Each deal is negotiated by us on an individual basis. With nearly 150,000 combined fans / followers on Face Book alone, and an undisclosed number of daily impressions (“hits”), it’s easy math for our advertisers. They get “more bang for their buck” and are able to capture their target audience.
Do we promote ourselves and our business? Sure we do (I just did!). Are we unlike the firefighter who owns and operates a lawn service or paint company on their days off? No, not really. We just do a MUCH better job of advertising and promoting our business.
Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Actually, I think there are a lot of people out there who could learn (or at least benefit) from what Rhett and I are doing.
We’ve created a positive image for ourselves, our associates and our place within the Fire Service. Can you’r business say that? Can your Department?
Why isn’t your Department promoting itself? If they’re not projecting a positive image, what is the public’s perception? What do the citizens you serve (your CUSTOMERS) think of the job you are doing? Do they even know WHAT you do? Where are they (the public) getting their information?
Are you only in the news when something bad happens? Is your Department only talked about when someone is asking about fire trucks at the grocery store or the firemen playing basketball out back of the station? How many times have you rolled up to an EMS call on the Engine to be told “I called for an ambulance”?
I’m not going to turn this into a Social Media post / class but it’s use (or lack of) is very relevant to the topic. I’ll add here that we can help you with this issue through one of our Social Media classes. Use the link below to learn how / more …..
The approach has and continues to work for us knowing very well that we set our expectations high. Top 10 in the “World” is just a stepping stone….. you never know where you’ll see or find us next!
Keep in mind here that it’s not always about us. Like I mentioned above, more times than not; we are promoting other companies, groups, individuals or events. We just happen to be involved (because we put ourselves in the right places).
For us, it’s always been about promoting the Fire Service as a whole as well as “The Brotherhood”. We share the stories that explain why this is the best damn job in the world!
The Ironfiremen.com post that generated the Face Book post and related comments was promoting a local F.O.O.L.S Chapter (link) and training. It wasn’t about me, Rhett or “our agenda”.
You’ve seen us post about 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs (link) and other events related to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) . We’ve helped raise money for injured / sick firefighters (click HERE). We’ve assisted in campaigns involving sick or injured children of firefighters across the Country (click HERE and HERE).
We were representing the Brotherhood on the ground in Moore, Oklahoma back in July, 2013 following the deadly F5 tornadoes (click HERE) . We were in Detroit, helping deliver much needed equipment to firefighters in need.
I shared in depth and personal stories following my Brother’s suicide and my ensuing battles with Grief, Depression and PTSD (Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) . Now THERE’S some “self promotion” for ya … imagine how I looked after sharing all of that!
These posts weren’t about my “image”, “brand” or how I “looked”. They were about sharing a story. About bringing light to an issue deep rooted within the fire service. They were about being able to help my Brother and Sister Firefighters who may have been struggling as well.
I could go on and on. Again, these stories are NOT about us …. they’re not about me or Rhett. They are about the groups who were able to accomplish these missions. They are stories about the Brothers and Sisters (or families of) who needed assistance. They are stories of firefighters.
We are telling the stories that should make us all stronger and we are PROUD of that!
Is having Pride in what you do a bad thing? Rhett and I speak about and believe that Tradition, Pride, Honor and Respect are what makes up the Brotherhood!
Is what we do on our web sites and associated Social Media outlets any different than having a company patch, logo or challenge coin? They are all forms of “self promotion” are they not? Are they self promotion, pride or a combination of both? Can you have PRIDE in your Company but not a web site or association? PRIDE in your Department but not the Fire Service? Are we dealing with a double standard here?
Maybe it’s ignorance? Maybe they don’t understand us…who we are and why we do what we do?
Maybe, and I have to throw this out there; it’s a little bit of jealousy?
Maybe they just don’t “get it”?
It really doesn’t matter. Their opinion will not change who we are, what we stand for or what we do.
Are we “self promoters”? HELL YES and for all the right reasons. We’re also PROUD members who believe we’re doing the right thing. That excites us and we like to talk about it. We want to share it with you and anyone else who will listen.
It was the implied tone of “self promoter” that got my wheels spinning. It was like something negative or bad. I don’t see it that way but then again, I could be wrong. Either way, thanks for following along on the rant. It was written (at times) with tongue in cheek and with a lot of “self promotion”…. LOL …now Isn’t that something!
Stay SAFE and in House!