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Russ Alman | Prepare to be ‘regrammed’: Sharing experiences through Instagram

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The Wenatchee World’s role as a news organization is changing from a traditional one-way street, where World journalists create all of the news stories and disseminate information to the public, toward a more interactive, collaborative model of community journalism, where we engage the community and give readers a voice.

Social media is a wonderful tool for providing this type of two-way communication. Armed with a smartphone, readers everywhere are able to act as our eyes and ears, offering glimpses into life in North Central Washington from multiple perspectives. Much like how reporters monitor the police scanner for breaking news, we actively follow social media to learn about what is happening in the community.

While The World has been active on Facebook and Twitter for years, we have also recently started building a presence on newer services, such as Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. In particular, we are finding Instagram to be an excellent tool to interact with readers.

For the uninitiated, Instagram is a relatively new service — about 4 years old. After the first year, it gained popularity so quickly that Facebook bought the company, although they have continued to allow Instagram to function autonomously. Where Facebook is designed to offer a broad social media experience, Instagram is designed specifically to share pictures and short videos. Instagram is a mobile-only service: the only way to post a photo is with a mobile device.

The idea is to encourage people to share their life in real-time through pictures.

Because of its mobile focus (and the fact that their parents have taken over Facebook), teenagers and young adults have flocked to Instagram. The mobile-only format also makes Instagram popular among people with active lifestyles and with amateur and professional photographers.

The World’s presence on Instagram allows us to tap into this young, active demographic and curate their experience to our larger audience. It provides an opportunity for us to interact with a group that is traditionally difficult for a news organization to reach.

As our social media manager, I use Instagram on a daily basis to take a pulse of what’s going on in our community. Thanks to hashtags such as #wenatchee, #pickwenatchee, #ncwlove and our own #wenworld, I am able to look out from my desk across the entire region and share the collective experiences of other Instagrammers. I “regram,” or repost, the best pictures I find on Instagram, and share the posts I think will resonate the best with our broader social media audience on Facebook.

I invite you to work with us in our quest to make The World more interactive and community driven by sharing your content with us. We monitor all major social networks for the hashtag #wenworld.

In addition, you can share with us by:

  • sending us a direct message or post our on Facebook
  • connecting with us as “WenatcheeWorld” on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram
  • connecting with us on Google+ (google.com/+WenatcheeWorldNews)
  • or even going “old school” and emailing us at socialmedia@wenatcheeworld.com

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