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Kelli Scott | We have a lot to like online

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You may have noticed a few changes in the look and feel of The Wenatchee World’s website and social media pages in recent months. As more and more people connect to The World on computers and mobile devices, the newly revamped digital department here is making adjustments to better serve readers.

The goal is to create a lively forum for discussion and community building.

On our website, there’s a new emphasis on video content. We’ve added a prominent video display to the homepage and are beginning to fill it with a wide range of videos, including traditional interviews, quick and informal chats with our publisher and raw footage of see-it-to-believe-it moments sent to us by readers.

On Facebook and our other social media pages, we are posting more photos and reader submissions, contests and links to free content from around the web, in addition to the day’s big news stories and breaking news alerts.

For a local newspaper like The Wenatchee World, social media sites like Facebook offer a powerful tool that allows us to engage in real-time, two-way conversations with readers like never before. This is big news for a small newspaper. It represents a fundamental shift away from the historic role of newspapers as output-only broadcasters.

Take for example how The Wenatchee World and its readers interacted in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, when our website and social media pages were painted beautifully blue and green. Seahawks fans sent us countless photos of babies, dogs, snowmen and entire businesses decked out in Seahawks gear, and we shared them all. Our first Facebook post to go viral was a sweet story from reporter Dee Riggs on Feb. 3 about a man and the Seahawks T-shirt he waited 38 years to wear. That post was viewed by over 136,000 people and 3,646 people clicked that they liked it.

Just one week later, a post about a midnight visit from a cougar blew those numbers away. On Feb. 11, reporter Michelle McNiel reposted with permission a note from Robert C. Nielsen about a sick cougar that showed up at his Stehekin home in the middle of the night and would not leave. That post has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times, with Facebook telling us that it was shared and commented on by people around the world. A follow-up article by Michelle was subsequently picked up by The Associated Press and had an online life of its own.

With today’s first installment of Your Digital World, we hope to bring the best of the conversations that are happening online to the readers of the printed paper. If you don’t already follow us on Facebook, we encourage you to do so. In addition to our website and Facebook pages, we are active on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ (which our social media director, Russ Alman, assures us will be huge one of these days). You can find links to all of these pages on our website — wenatcheeworld.com.

We welcome you to join the conversation online. Your friends and neighbors are already there — nearly 16,000 of them like us on Facebook. They share photos, videos and personal stories with us, and we are glad to hear from each and every one of them.

Kelli Scott is digital content coordinator for The Wenatchee World. She can be reached at kscott@wenatcheeworld.com.

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