Social media is the way of the modern world. Whether running for public office, trying to spread the word about an issue or event, or looking for 15 minutes of fame, it’s inevitable that some sort of social media outlet will be (or rather, has to be) used.
Take newspapers. Most papers now have a website for posting pictures, stories, and receiving reader commentary, which has been invaluable to the business. It would be quite reasonable to say that the newspaper industry wouldn’t be afloat anymore if companies still relied solely on ink and paper productions. People enjoy being able to log onto their computers, hop on the internet and read the “paper” without ever having to change out of their pajamas or step out into the frigid winter air (this is the Northern US, after all).
However, instead of relying on websites targeted precisely at news and waiting for readers to head on over, papers are now going directly to their readers by making Facebook accounts where fans (or people who really, really dislike them) are able to very publicly write good or bad opinions on their “wall” for the world to see.
For this post, the Chicago Tribune will be used as a[n] (bad) example.
Most other Facebook pages made by newspapers can be seen interacting with readers, responding to posts, asking opinions, posting human-like and personable articles, and promoting thought-provoking conversations (like here, here, or here). Not the Tribune.
Sure, the Tribune posts articles- that much is obvious. However, the articles posted are oftentimes unreachable to those who haven’t paid for an online subscription, as many users openly complain about on the Tribune’s page. Also in the complaints appeared commentary about the Tribune allegedly supporting Barack Obama prior to the election (one reader stated that it has “always been a Republican paper” and shared her disgust with the supposed backing for the Democratic President) as well as the Tribune’s failure to deliver newspapers to a man’s house (to which he repeatedly demonstrated disgust at the idea of dishing out money to a paywall while he was already paying for an unfulfilled subscription to the newspaper). In the midst of all of this, not one single reply was made from the Tribune addressing any complaints, furthering any conversations, or engaging with any readers. Not even one. (Can you find any?)
Social media is incredibly important, especially in this day and age. However, what good does it do if readers can’t see any articles, and the original poster(s) are completely disengaged with commentators? What’s the point of a Facebook page where almost no one can benefit from any posts, and all comments and concerns go ignored?