Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 3:30 a.m. Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.
Well, I finally took the plunge — and I didn’t even wait to see the movie, either.
I now have a Facebook page, which I started two weeks ago this day while waiting for the snow that never came. It was easier than I thought — no running to Books-A-Million to purchase “Facebook For Dummies” or watching the highly acclaimed motion picture “The Social Network,” about the creation of the amazingly successful, well, social network that has half a billion user pages.
I started in this business at a newspaper that still used a monstrous, clanking, banging, steaming linotype machine and have experienced the entire evolution of newspaper technology during the past 40 years. But when cyberspace began to engulf journalism a decade or so ago, I realized there had been a tectonic shift in my profession, albeit one that threatens the daily newspaper as we have known it for generations.
The Tuscaloosa News first went on-line in 1999 (and I had the first picture posted, of a large petrified log being excavated in the hill county south of Fosters) and I quickly got used to the new facts of life in newsrooms everywhere: We are now always on deadline.
But when Executive Editor Doug Ray approached me in the summer of 2006 about writing a blog (a contraction of “Web log”), I was hesitant at first, even though by that time I was an avid Internet surfer and follower of on-line blogs of all types.
I figured I already wrote a weekly column and several editorials a week, so why would I need another outlet for expression?
But I concurred to give it a try — my first post was on Aug. 17, 2006, and it was about sitting in my bathing suit by the waterfall on Bee Branch on a steamy summer day and being engulfed by a tremendous and exhilarating thunderstorm. It was accompanied by pics of the
Since then, I have posted more than 1,400 blogs and probably more than 5,000 pics and videos on what evolved to be two blogs. “Time is Spherical, Not Linear” was created for my random thoughts, ruminations and experiences; and “poliBITS” began in January 2008 to coincide with the election year and consisted of political news and observations, since covering politics is my primary focus.
Since I post several times a week, it won’t be long before I have more blog items than the 1,500 or so editorial page columns I have written for The Tuscaloosa News since 1976.
The blog experience has been truly liberating and invigorating, which is funny since I didn’t begin until I was in my late 50s. You can write long or short, on anything you want — music, sports, wildlife, the creek, weather — within the limits of good taste, and even do long-range projects that won’t fit in the newspaper, like the 24-part series of pics of the construction of the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, from its ground-breaking to grand opening, which I finished last month.
“Town Hall,” the weekly video interviews I do in our studio or on location, sort of evolved from the blogs and appear with my and our other bloggers’ posts on the front page of our website, Tuscaloosanews.com. On the website, we try to provide extra features that can’t fit in a finite newspaper because, after all, cyberspace is virtually infinite.
But back to Facebook and my initial impressions, the first of which is: How does it register so many people I have known over the years and is able to make it easy for us to connect, either by me “friending” them or them “friending” me?
I’ve already collected more than 400 such contacts and have exchanged pleasantries with old friends in Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, Costa Rica and Guatemala. World Wide Web, indeed.
Of course, I am just learning the Facebook ropes and am mostly playing around. But we have several old Facebook hands in the newsroom who use it to find sources for stories, track down people they need to write stories about and send out feelers for ideas from our now-interactive readership. You would be surprised how many articles in The Tuscaloosa News have jumped from various reporters’ Facebook pages to the newspaper and website.
Other than trace down a false rumor, I really can’t state that I have used Facebook for my job that much (which is why I try to stay off it until after-hours), but I am sure that will come later as I become more adept at social networking.
Maybe watching the motion picture will help.
And, I am told, next up in this brave new digital world is Twitter, which has become a staple in the newspaper industry, but which I haven’t quite comprehended yet. I comprehend it is limited to 140 characters, which is usually not enough for me to clear my throat, but we are having an internal meeting in the next few days to explain everything and get the newsroom “tweeting” en mass.
I doubt that there will be a Twitter movie, however.
Well, maybe a short feature, in keeping with its abbreviated format.
source : www.tuscaloosanews.com
Submited at Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am on Uncategorized by admin
Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback