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It's Celeste Turn column: Don't rely on social media

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

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The Echo Press is your hometown newspaper. Remember that when wanting to share news about an event or your business. (Echo Press file photo)

At the end of every Douglas County Board meeting, the chairperson always asks if there are any items from the floor. And this past Tuesday was no different.

Chairperson Jerry Rapp asked if anyone in the audience, which by the end of the meeting consisted of a handful of county employees, myself and Tom Chorley from KXRA, had anything to share.

He even singled me out this time, asking if I had anything on my mind. I told him no, at first. But quickly changed my mind and told him I did have something.

But first, let me back up just a minute.

During the meeting, there was talk about some events that will be taking place at Lake Brophy County Park. While discussing the events, one of the commissioners asked about how the public would know about the events so they could either join in or avoid the park all together because it might be too busy.

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Apparently letting the public know means posting about it on the county’s Facebook page.

And you know what, I have to admit I was kind of irked by it.

And not just at the county. They just happened to be the tipping point and I finally spoke up.

Too many others have been turning to social media for promoting events and news. It seems that letting the public know about something means posting about it on Facebook and calling it good.

Whatever happened to contacting the newspaper? Whatever happened to sending out press releases? Whatever happened to taking out an ad to promote an event or other area happenings?

I decided to say something right then and there.

I told the commissioners not to forget that they have a newspaper in their county. That we are a source of letting the community know about not only news, but events, too. A newspaper, mind you, that has been giving information life since 1891.

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"Too many others have been turning to social media for promoting events and news. It seems that letting the public know about something means posting about it on Facebook and calling it good."

- Celeste Edenloff, reporter


But honestly, I wasn’t just saying it to the county commissioners. I was saying it to all those people who have said and will say, “We’re just going to put it on Facebook.”

With the advent of social media, and not just Facebook, but Instagram and Twitter, too, more and more businesses, organizations, government agencies and others are turning away from their hometown, community newspaper and turning to social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a social media queen. I will admit to spending way too much of my time perusing Insta and Facebook. But the thing is, I use social media to see what my friends and family are up to. I love seeing photos of my friends’ children or pictures of the remodeling projects my family members are working on and I never tire of good old sunset, sunrise or any kind of nature pictures that are posted.

With the way Facebook algorithms work, if a business or organization posts about an event or are trying to get the public’s help on something, it will probably only reach half of the people who “like” their page anyway so really, is that good advertising?

I know people will say that the newspaper only comes out twice a week, and while that is true, with the advent of our website, which by the way dates back to the late 1990s, we are now a daily newspaper. We can help get the word out. We can put it in the printed version and we can put it online.

We have a very knowledgeable and helpful sales team who can help on the ad side of things. Contact Shelly Beaulieu, the advertising manager, at sbeaulieu@echopress.com and she will be more than willing to get you set up with a salesperson. For the news end of things, send information – whether in the form of a press release or just the basic who, what, where, when and why – to Al Edenloff, the news editor, at aedenloff@echopress.com , and he will let you know if it can be used for a news article or if it needs to be sent over to the sales team.

Or even stop in the office, 225 7th Ave. E., and have a chat with our publisher, Diann Drew ; I know she would love to visit with you.

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The bottom line is don’t just rely on social media. The reach is far less than your hometown, local newspaper, which by the way, is the official newspaper of Douglas County.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

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