I've noticed a disturbing trend in the last year or so. The number of people who send press releases to the Pilot about their upcoming community events, activities and fundraisers is decreasing.
Even more disconcerting is the fact that the information is showing up on Facebook instead.
Don't get me wrong. Facebook is a powerful social networking tool. I use it personally, as does the Pilot, to post breaking news briefs and other items of interest, and direct readers to our website or printed edition for the full story and photos.
But Facebook is a limited tool. One that should be used in combination with other media sources.
One should not, to borrow a phrase, put all their eggs in one basket. Not everybody uses Facebook, especially in our community, which has a large senior population andndash; and a significant number of younger people andndash; who are unaware of or don't use Facebook.
Case in point: I noticed a certain non-profit group posted information about an upcoming fundraiser on its Facebook page. The group did not send the information to the Pilot (we publish it for free!) When I asked the group's representative why, the response was, "Well, we got such a great response on Facebook!"
I asked how many "friends" they had on their Facebook page, to determine exactly how many people saw their initial posting.
"I don't know. About 300," came the reply.
Hmmm, I thought.
"Okay," I said. "If you had sent the information to the Pilot, it would have been seen by a majority of our 6,000-plus subscribers."
She was stunned. Now, I get a press release from that group nearly every week.
I have a theory. I think the excitement and ease of posting something on Facebook and the instant gratification that comes from quick responses such as "We'll be there!" may lead one to assume the whole world knows about their event.
One person who doesn't make such assumptions is Dori Blodgett, who smartly takes a multi-media approach to getting the word out about events. Whether it's the next play at Brookings-Harbor Community Theater, a fundraiser for a friend, or events at the Chetco Community Public Library, Blodgett posts the information on Facebook and emails press releases to the Pilot and local radio and TV stations. She often distributes information via "old-fashioned" flyers and posters.
And you know what?
Many of her events are major successes.
I like to think that the Pilot contributes to that success, and that of others who use the Pilot to promote worthwhile causes.
I am willing to admit this: If a majority of people in our community eventually rely on Facebook and/or other social media sites as their sole source of local news and information, then the Pilot will surely lose out in the areas of community relevance, attention and information dissemination.
Could that happen? Perhaps, but if it does, it will be a long ways off.
Facebook is a tool, but it shouldn't be the only one in your promotions toolkit. Use it in combination with the Pilot to reach your target audience and ensure your worthwhile cause is a big success.