Technology will help us spread local news

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By Geoff Hamill

It’s 2009, and the world just keeps on changing.

The way we do things these days is not the same as it was 20 years ago, or even 10 or five years ago, for that matter.

Our TVs are now digital, our phones are now almost all cellular, and our news comes at us from every direction, 24 hours a day.

That news part is of special interest to us here at The Springfield Sun, because we are proud to be your primary source of local news, and we are pleased that we can bring you the stories that affect your life, whether they are hard news stories about your government and how they spend your tax dollars, your schools and how they educate your children, or just a nice feature about your neighbors and what is happening in their lives. We bring you the news about life in Washington County, and we’re proud to do it better than anybody else can.

Now, we’re looking to provide the news to you in a new way, using technology to keep you up to date on what’s happening around you. These days, social networking sites are the rave of the Internet, and a great way to stay in touch. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are used by people who want to know what other people are doing, and they are the sources we will use in spreading local news to our audience, other than our print edition and our own Web site.

Let’s take a look at the sites and learn a little about how they will help us serve you.

First, there’s Twitter. This site allows us to post information to a site, and all you have to do is visit the site once, then sign up and choose to follow our postings. From there, you can receive e-mails and/or text messages any time we make a post to our account, and there’s no cost involved.

With Twitter, we will post information you may want to know at almost any hour of the day or night. Postings could be anything from “Highway 555 is closed due to a two-car accident,” or “A tornado warning has been issued for Washington County until 10:30 p.m.” Other posts we plan to make will be items from school and sporting events such as, “The Washington County Commanders play in the 19th District Championship game tonight at 7 p.m.” or “Sue Jones will compete in the state tennis tournament Friday in Lexington.”

Seem kind of simple? Well, that’s the idea. These posts are intended to give you a short piece of information that will benefit you, but not drag you down with a lot of detail. Posts can only contain 140 letters, so they are guaranteed to be short and to the point. Often, these postings could also refer you to our Web site for more information when you want more details.

Registering and following us, or anyone else, is free on Twitter. You can even set up your own account and have friends, family, co-workers or anyone else follow your activities. You can sign up for our news by visiting www.twitter.com/readthesun and choosing to follow us. It’s really easy, and a good way to keep up with what’s going on!

Facebook is another popular form of social networking, and we now have a page for the newspaper. On Facebook, you can be a “friend” of the paper, and that will allow you to receive updates about the paper, as well as interact with other readers about stories in the paper, events in the community, and more. You can even upload photos of events you’ve been a part of and share them with other readers. To join the Sun’s Facebook page, just type in The Springfield Sun in the search box at the top right corner of your Facebook page, and you’re all set.

These are just a few of the modern ways to share news and have our readers interact with us, as well as each other. We look forward to having you join our groups, and to hearing from you about other ideas you might have about helping us stay more in touch with you!