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by Debi Sporleder
HUERFANO- Who would ever have guessed the magnitude of this phenomenon called social networking? Of course, social networking has been around for centuries – until this century it happened at dances, block parties, chamber events, or BBQ’s. Now it seems more people are perfectly content sitting in the privacy of their homes chatting with friends on Facebook.
Facebook has not only changed the way people network on a personal level, it is also revolutionizing the way people do business. At the Huerfano World Journal, we have discovered a new form of interaction with the community through Facebook. For 127 years, letters to the editor in our county-wide newspaper has been Huerfano County’s best forum for learning and debating community viewpoints. Now, we have added a new forum- lengthy exchanges and conversations on a near daily basis through the World Journal’s Facebook page.
Fresh on our minds is the recent shooting on Main Street in Walsenburg which proved the Huerfano World Journal to be THE invaluable- indeed only- place for breaking news. We broke the story beginning at 6:30 am. Throughout the day, we updated as news became available and answered readers’ questions directly through two Facebook videos, 88 conversational threads, 29 likes and Twitter posts. We even had 47 new people “friend” us because we were the breaking news source. At one point three different TV stations and the Pueblo Chieftain were in our office in Walsenburg, gathering information and photos for their own news stories.
When there was a controversy over a particular letter to the editor, 92 comments and likes were made. There was a lengthy thread two weeks ago about “fracking” with 68 pro and con opinions being exchanged and 17 people “liking” the conversation. The following week we had a discussion about the “Big Boom in the “Burg”- was it a natural gas explosion/sonic boom/earthquake topic- and got 89 responses and 7 likes.
We are the Facebook page the Huerfano County community turns to when wanting the latest updates on smoke in the air, traffic problems, car wrecks, deaths in the area, school closures and a myriad of other things. Each Wednesday, our website and Facebook page feature a video newscast of Larry Patrick announcing the top headline news for the next day’s paper.
Our Facebook page is also the place where some of our local merchants want more exposure. One of our merchants was ecstatic about the exposure she received when she ran an ad about a Mother’s Day special. The ad ran in the paper and we gave her a plug on Facebook, which increased her business!
Bottom line, we’ve become Huerfano County’s “daily” news! It’s been fun to watch our Facebook “friends” grow to nearly 3000! Come join us! Search for Huerfano Journal for our daily posts and Huerfano World Journal for our business page.
Newshounds now have another way to get the latest news, and businesses have a great new way to reach potential customers.