It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

Charlotte’s Bravest break down virtual doors, too. by Nheeda Enriquez
June 19, 2009, 4:50 pm
Filed under: branding, community services, social media | Tags: , , ,

I recently realized that I live around the corner from a little-known incubator of social media innovation in town: Charlotte’s own Fire Station 8.  Two firefighters from its C-shift, Leo Wurschmidt and Jason Almond, have been experimenting with twitter and a station blog, primarily to show the day-to-day, inner workings of the station.  It reaches beyond a traditional website-as-PR-placeholder, inviting visitors to read about the actual calls they go on or the personalities of its staff.

firehouse1The significance of the experiment is that the authors see potential value in regularly sharing this kind of information (in their down time, of course) with the community to demonstrate transparency and, to some degree, local accountability.  They hope to also create a place to share best firefighting practices within their department and with firefighters at large.  (Jason and Leo are studying their Google Analytics to better understand their reading audience.)

My favorite part of the site is the neighbor interviews, which were borne out of their QAP (Quick Access Plan) evaluations.  Part of the job requires visits to area businesses to learn the layout of these sites in case of an emergency.  But the blog also gave them the opportunity to showcase small businesses in the neighborhood and become a local resource of information.