I laughed out loud when I came across this photo, not because pausing to tweet during a fire – or even a fire drill – is funny (it isn’t), but because seeing this sign (which is available for purchase and can be found in stairwells across the country) opened my eyes to the fact that we now live in a world in which we have to remind people NOT to pause to tweet during a fire.
Our increasingly connected world encourages and rewards – with “likes” and “shares” and comments – immediate information sharing. And there’s no doubt that social media, from Facebook to Twitter and everything in between, has a positive impact on our communities in terms of making connections, increasing awareness, providing valuable information, and in extreme cases, saving lives. But there’s also no doubt that social media can have negative consequences if used incorrectly or at the wrong time, like when driving or when one should be getting the heck out of a burning building.
So today, one reminder to use social media for the right reasons and when it’s safe to do so. And a second reminder that in the event of a fire, the important things to save in a fire are lives. Install and maintain smoke alarms, and plan and practice escape routes from your home, office, and/or school – ideally, two exits from every room. And for pete’s sake, exit the building before tweeting about it!