Facebook — and more specifically, people’s reactions on the social-media site — will never cease to amaze me.
Take, for instance, the photo above. This was one of the first frames I snapped at Durant High School’s preseason football game Aug. 24. In actuality, I was just taking some test shots for lighting, when the national anthem began to play. I happened to like the way the sun was shining through the flag, so I fired off a few frames.
Later that night, after shooting photos of both the Durant and Strawberry Crest games, I emptied my memory card and came across this shot. Of course, it didn’t fit the original assignment — high school football — so I decided to post it on our Facebook page.
Since we began publishing in July 3, we’ve tried to maintain an active presence on Facebook. In the weeks before our first edition, the site was the only way we could get news out to the community. And since then, we’ve used it to promote our print and website content as well as engage our audience with questions and other tidbits.
Our Facebook fans are active as well, and we’ve been fortunate to have regular feedback on just about everything we post. However, in less than one day, this photo, this one-off, nearly accidental shot, broke all our Facebook records. As of press time, more than 80 clicked the “Like” button — which then posted a link on each fan’s respective Facebook page and increased the potential for more eyes. To date, nearly 1,000 people have viewed the photo. Although that’s not much in the grand scheme of social media, for our little paper, it’s an accomplishment.
By comparison, both our blurb about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane-supply list and our breaking news story about the missing PTA money at Springhead Elementary each only received just one “Like” apiece. Earlier this week, though, we posted a photo of Mayor Mike Sparkman with his two granddaughters on his birthday. That garnered nearly 70 “Likes” all on its own.
The moral of the story: What flies in print doesn’t necessarily sprout wings on Facebook.
Which is why our staff spent an entire day a few weeks ago in social-media training with two industry gurus. We’ve been pleased with our presence on Facebook so far, but we’re still in the learning phase regarding what our fans want to see — and what generates traffic. It’s an interesting sociological study, actually, and one that reveals the morals and values of our city. Facebook is a venue through which to celebrate and discuss. It’s a place to show our patriotism and honor our heroes. It’s a place to promote our local merchants and foster our city’s business-to-business network And it’s a platform on which we will feature exclusive content and host direct conversation between our editorial staff and our fans.
If you haven’t yet “Liked” us, please do so on our Facebook page. And, for those of you who prefer a quicker social-media network, we also host two Twitter feeds — @PlantObserver and @PlantCitySports — on which we will feature breaking news, sports scores and more.
As always, you can find all our content online on our site, PlantCityObserver.com.ActualSpy