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Social media a bustling forum papers dare not ignore


The online community: Facebook

The online community: Facebook

Dominic Lipinski

The online community: Facebook

As social media continues to drive changes in all types of businesses, it’s interesting, from a media industry viewpoint, to see how it affects newspapers and other outlets.

Where once newspapers and broadcasters didn’t pay much |attention to social media, except perhaps to find news stories, it is now being taken much more |seriously.

On Facebook, the Belfast Telegraph, for example, has 21,627 ‘likes’ — aka people who have |declared online that they like the Telegraph’s Facebook site. We also have 18,799 Twitter followers.

These sites have a huge range of uses for a media outlet. First and foremost, they are a fantastic way of reaching audiences that don’t traditionally get their news from print, or who do get their news from print, but like regular |updates throughout the day.

Secondly, what a wonderful way of finding out what your readers’ concerns are.

We think of our Facebook site as partly a news noticeboard and partly a gigantic letters page, where we can host online debates by and from people who ‘like’ the Belfast Telegraph.

You’ll have no need of me to |remind you that we’re a broad church, so to speak, and every shade of opinion is recognised in there.

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Our journalists work hard to keep Facebook and Twitter continually updated and are thrilled so many people want to join the |series of conversations hosted by us, whether on Facebook and Twitter, or on our own website, or in the traditional Letters to the Editor page.

A great example of that is the flags dispute and the highly successful We’re Backing Belfast campaign, which the Telegraph has led over the past fortnight.

Talking of social media, one story that featured prominently online during the week was Prince Harry in Afghanistan.

Personally, I thought it was all a bit of a damp squib.

Until, that is, he had a go at the “rubbish” UK media, claiming they always get everything wrong.

Not true, Harry, old son, but if you want to believe that, go right ahead.

I presume he means the London tabloid media. It’s certainly not the case with the regional Press.

Meanwhile, thanks to reader Mr W Savage for his observation on Saturday’s Ulster Log article about why Pommern Street in Belfast came to be named after a horse. He writes: “Pommern did win the Triple Crown in 1915, but the names Donovan, Ard Patrick, Cicero, Ladas, Trigo, Orby, Grand Parade, Manna, Blenheim and |Ormond were all Derby winners — several of them winning other Classics.

“All these are street names off the Castlereagh Road (Ormonde Gardens has an ‘e' on the end).”