Misplaced anxiety over social media glitch

by | Mar 21, 2019 | Opinion

Last Wednesday was a day of anxiety for a lot of people – at least, if what I heard on several radio and television stations was accurate.

Facebook was down and what a vacuum this caused.

OMG, or LOL?

During the hours the social media giant was experiencing technical difficulties I had no idea of the ramifications this lack of wasting one’s time was having on the world. But as the afternoon and evening wore on, the downtime became the lead story in the broadcasting world.

To be clear, our media company uses Facebook, and yes, even I am guilty of accessing it almost daily.

We use it as a tool to inform readers of information that resides in, or on, our main products; first our newspapers and secondly our websites. As a result, I have to go through my own account to get to our company accounts.

We use it because we have to meet you where you live to grab your attention. We want your attention because we want you to be informed about the community in which you live.

At this point in the column I’m not going down any one of the countless rabbit trails about the positive and negative aspects of using social media. Instead I’ll pose a question.

Do you know what kind of vacuum is taking place in America of an even greater magnitude?

How about the loss of 1,800, and counting, newspapers since 2004?

The phrase ‘Stop the press!’ has taken on a whole new meaning for a lot of my colleagues.

Last week the newspaper industry observed Sunshine Week. It’s a time of reflection and awareness focused on you, the reader.

It’s celebrated annually to remind you of the importance of accurate, fair and balanced reporting. It’s meant to remind you that you have a voice, that what you think about the events that shape your world locally, statewide or, nationally matter.

If you’ve read my columns, then you know I’m guilty of creating awareness about the newspaper you are reading or should read.

But let me be clear, the only agenda I have is to keep you informed.

What you missed during a few hours of social media downtime is nothing compared to what millions of people have missed since losing their newspaper.

When a community loses its newspaper it becomes a news desert. It no longer has an unbiased, balanced vehicle to keep it informed about issues that hit home. No independent thought exists about what’s going on at city hall, the school district, the county and beyond.

When a newspaper closes, all socio-economic demographics are affected, both low-income and affluent, suburban and metro.

Now that’s what I call anxiety.

In the advertising and marketing world there’s a term ‘call to action.’ It’s the part in the ad that tells you what to do next.

This is my call to action to you.

If you are reading this and do not subscribe to your local paper, do so. If you have friends who do not subscribe to a local paper, share what you already know and encourage them to spend a few dollars a month on a subscription.

You, your friends, your neighbors, all of you, deserve to have a place where you can have a voice. It’s only with your support that this community newspaper can truly help this community’s voice.

[email protected]

 

By Chad Engbrock • [email protected]

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