The swearing in Thursday of Scott Parks as the new Marathon County sheriff was big news here, given all the trouble lately with the jail, and the former sheriff. Naturally we at Daily Herald Media wrote a front-page story about it and posted video on our website.
But we did a lot more than that. As the Daily Herald's new social media specialist, it was my job to post the news as it was happening on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook - and to help foster a conversation among readers at the same time. We collected feedback, asked people what they would ask Parks and what they wanted to know about their new sheriff. We posted quotes, photos, videos and more to Twitter as it happened.
That conversation, that instant feedback, is a vital part of what we do here today every day. My job is to reach out to readers and keep them engaged in the local stories, information, photos and video we create.
Maybe you are a daily user of Facebook or Twitter - or, for that matter, of other sites like Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or Google Plus. Maybe that sounds to you like I'm listing items the mechanic tells you are broken. Either way, for today's newsroom, social media really matters - and helps us do what we do.
A great opportunity Facebook gives us is the ability to start a conversation and hear the thoughts of our readers. We can ask questions about a story and see what matters most to you. We can find out the pulse of the community on a subject.
Do you care about a story? Do your neighbors feel the same way? Why? We want to know. The newspaper has always depended upon readers for news tips, reactions and viewpoints, but Facebook and other tools allow for these conversations to begin easier than ever before.
Our stories have benefited from social media. We were able to make initial contact with Wausau natives in Boston following the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Hearing from them gave our stories an additional perspective and a local connection.
Through social media we also are able to keep you updated on breaking news, sports scores, story developments and so much more throughout the day. As soon as we can confirm breaking news, it goes onto our Twitter feed.
We cover important stories and local happenings by posting live from the scene. We covered the recent Wisconsin GOP Convention live, straight to our Twitter account. We then pulled all those tweets together into a single story, using a service called Storify, that allowed readers who didn't follow it live to get caught up. It provided a great narrative of the event.
We also post a lot of things that are simply meant to be fun. Our prom galleries on Pinterest showcased great fashion and a special moment for local young people. We post beautiful local photographs, off-beat stories and conversations-starters that are good for a diversion throughout the day.
We are always finding new ways to use social media. And we do it because we believe it helps us to fulfill our mission of bringing the community together, giving people a place to talk and share, providing a forum for views and opinions and a platform for important news stories. We deliver news in a huge number of ways outside of the newspaper.
Facebook, Twitter and the others are no longer just a place to keep up with friends and find out who got fat after high school. They are a place to keep up on the news of your area. Come, join us.