Have You Seen These

Drones, Hoaxes and Skeptics Oh My

Two fascinating social media and technology news stories broke over the Thanksgiving holiday making for a target rich blogging environment.

Amazon drones

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is a pretty shrewd showman by taking the opportunity on 60 Minutes to introduce the concept of package delivery by drone, including this slick video. Man, he got everyone’s tongues a waggin’ about the potential of flying spiders dropping off PlayStation 60 games on Joe Blow’s doorstep.  I’ll go out on a limb here in predicting this concept won’t get off the ground anytime soon.  Why?

  • You can see them coming.  Thieves only have to follow them to a house and snatch the package (or the drone) once it’s    dropped off (I doubt a drone can ring a doorbell).
  • They will malfunction and hit something or someone.
  • Weather
  • Dogs
  • Birds
  • BB guns
  • Public paranoia of “Big Brother”

But, digressing from gimmicky package delivery ideas I would have killed to have had a bird’s eye view of the fireground on some of our biggest fires to really see what was going on. Having a “fire and forget” drone with a camera (and a cool thermal imager) could have made our lives a lot easier in some of our hairiest incidents. The fire service needs to embrace and exploit this technology in performing size ups and maintaining situational awareness.   It’s already being done in areas hit by large scale weather disasters around the world, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the little plastic thingy’s up in the air around here should it?

 Soon after Bezos’ announcement, UPS came out with their own drone proposal.  Hey UPS, stick with the brown shirts and shorts.  You’ll have a leg up on Amazon.

 Hoaxes and Skepticism

 A couple of big time social media hoaxes were inflicted on the gullible public (including me) recently. A comedian posts a supposed Twitter dialogue between himself and a salsa sauce producer, and a TV producer tweets a running confrontation between himself and a fellow airline passenger at Thanksgiving.  Both stories were ultimately found to be fiction, and oh, what fiction they were.  Given the complexity of the tales and their common underlying theme in standing up to selfishness and the establishment, each story went viral in a heartbeat. Yours truly bit on both. I was a little more skeptical of the salsa story, mostly because it just seemed too complex and did not smell right. But, I retweeted it anyway. In retrospect, I should have been more suspicious of the brazenness of the supposed airline passenger. There are lots of lessons for SMEM types here, but perhaps the best is eloquently stated by Time;

 “There are cons that work by taking advantage of people’s best nature: their charitable instincts, their hope, their sympathy. And then there are cons that take advantage of people’s suspicion, their judgment, their belief that the world is full of jerks. This was the latter kind.”

Hey, I just heard Facebook is going to start charging a subscription fee!  I’m outraged!

About chiefb2

Retired fire chief,Type 3 AHIMT IC, PIO. Current industrial services safety professional, social media emergency management disciple (no, I'm not a "guru"). Crisis communications consultant. Dad with an open wallet.