Last night we were involved in our first major call out as such and even though we have the basis for all this to run smoothly and quickly, it's still not in place mainly due to the fact of Veterans not being aware of it and I will explain all below.
Last night while casually scrolling through various posts on my Facebook feed I came across one that caught my eye.
It stated something like "looking for support for a veteran tomorrow" as it was early enough I put a comment asking how we could help and was there any more details.
The guy that posted this was not another Veteran but a civilian with a lot of veteran friends and a strong supporter of the community, so anyway he sent me the information about what the story was and so I published a basic post on our pages news feed asking if any vets near NW London would be free.
If you're not an admin or dont own your own group this is the current process of how things work on Facebook and why I'm writing this blog post.
After posting the main thing is to get the word out to as many as you can in as short a time as possible, this requires sharing the original post on your own time line, groups you know of and any pages, as you can imagine this all takes time as you have to share to each one individually, there isnt a block post where you can share once.
I think I shared it in around 20 of the bigger groups (without risk of facebook jail for spam)
as well as our own ones we run, some of the shares still have not been allowed by the admins from other groups almost 24hrs since posting. The other problem you have with being in multiple groups, not all the people you need to tag are in the same groups as yourself so they wont ever see what you've written.
Whilst all this was going on I was also receiving comments on the original post asking for more information and also private messages to my own inbox as well as the VETNETS inbox, so now I'm trying to message the original poster for more details, reply to comments and also to 3 Veterans who lived nearby and said they would go round as it wasnt far. As you can imagine this is all time consuming, confusing and by this time things had escalated and needed somewhere there asap.
We eventually managed to set up a group call with those involved and thanks to Digger Gardner from Never Surrender who kindly took on the case but one of his comments last night stuck with me and one of the other reasons for writing this. He said they were going to try and get him moved to a better location so I said to look on our VETNET page charities as there were a load of links that might be helpful he said he had never heard of us and he was only for Never Surrender and no one else. This summed up the veteran community in a nut shell for me with that one sentence and one of the reasons I left that group after all the mud slinging went on last year.
So on that note I would personally like to thank all those involved and I will be rejoining the group shortly after writing this but here is our solution to this problem which has been in place for over a year now and would like you to honestly answer this, how many Veterans could we have saved if every veteran knew about this and worked together as one team?
This is our VETNET
As well as having multiple listings offering help, legal advice, regimental groups and various other social network links, we have tried to gather the biggest collection of armed forces and Veteran social media groups together all under one roof, a sort of veterans Facebook, we call it the VETNET.
Part of this is the CSCSA as shown above in the picture, this is how it should work in theory if more people were made aware of it and I will use the example from last night.
After seeing the post last night or better yet if the original poster had used the VETNET this is what should have happened.
As a member of VETNET I automatically receive a notification from the app, the same I would from FB so if I was a member of the Group "London" I would see anything new as soon as it was posted and could have shared within my own network. A sort of central message board for every group if you want.
This way any member no matter which fb group you belong to could see anything of importance, then share within their own networks untill such a time came when Facebook was no longer needed by the Veteran community and we all used the VETNET and services it has to offer, run by veterans for veterans.
One post to reach the whole of the veteran community, an end to veterans not getting the help they needed.
There is another seperate blog post all about the VETNET as well as some other good reads if you've not had enough.
Take care and stay safe and thanks again to the Veterans and civilians who came together last night for the same cause with no egos involved.