by Justin Monsewicz, student writer
Print media is still alive and being accessed, but those in the industry realize that times are changing. Those who still read print media are generally of an older demographic, so what of those who are younger? The internet revolutionized the way the world connects, but a byproduct of the internet has changed the way we not only access media, but also the way we connect.
Social media, according to an infographic from Online Schools, began in 1978 when the first e-mail was sent. As the internet grew so did the way people connected. Instant messaging was born, online communities were launched and new innovations began. Social media, in my opinion, actually began in 2002 when Friendster was launched. Friendster is where the power of social media was first truly recognized. It has been less than a decade since Friendster was created and it doesn’t appear that social media is slowing down any time soon.
The Times-Georgian recognizes the power and significance of social media and now has a Facebook page for their readers to gain access to news, weather updates and interact by other means of engagement. The paper has just begun to dip their toes in the sometimes frightening depths of social media, but they are about to dive in head-first, reaching their audience in a multitude of ways.
“Social media is, without a doubt, a communication tool to be reckoned with seriously,” said Leonard Woolsey, president of the Times-Georgian. “As more and more people transition to communicating through social media, we decided this was a great time to step back and really look at how we at the Times-Georgian utilized these tools when communicating with our community.”
Currently, the paper is working with students at the university to better understand social media and how they can use it to reach their audience efficiently.
“You simply cannot ignore the generational advantages students bring to the social media table,” said Woolsey. “We're finding the experience to be very rewarding -- and hopefully for both parties. It is our goal to trade real world experience for insightful social media direction.”
Woolsey began meeting with students three weeks ago and the ideas presented by the students have already started paying off for the paper. By implementing ideas like plugging the Facebook page in the print edition of the Times-Georgian, the number of “likes” on the paper’s Facebook page has increased 60 percent. Facebook is just the start of the paper’s social media plan. A team of Times-Georgian staff members are currently researching other social media outlets, such as Twitter and Pinterest, to see how they can best engage their audience.
“While we've learned a great deal of what helps us better understand the how people use social media, it is still a moving target,” said Woolsey, “We’re learning as we go, so to say.”
Woolsey invites any students interested in becoming involved with the Times-Georgian’s social media project to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.