Friday, April 24, 2009

How the Chicago Tribune Has Become a Social Media Pioneer

I had such a good time with the Twitter post from yesterday that I've decided to keep on the theme of social media as we go into the weekend. I am a big fan of the Mashable blog, which has become an invaluable virtual sherpa for those trying to navigate the waters of social media.

Today's post follows the efforts of Colonel Tribune (on Twitter at @ColonelTribune and on Facebook) -- aka Daniel Honigman -- to be the social media voice of the Chicago Tribune. I am a follower of the Colonel on Twitter and Honigman's official title is Social Media Strategist.

The Tribune created the colonel in 2008 to try out content sharing and strategies. He evolved into becoming a "touch point" for the newspaper and its voice on the web. He now holds regular Tweetups with his followers in Chicago. Honigman told Mashable that sees the future of news reporting going a different way. Tools like Twitter allow for "micro-level connections" with a newspaper's end user - the reader. "You must learn to embrace your audiences, wherever they are. How will you do that? However you can,” he told Mashable.

I have reaped the benefits of my own efforts to reach out to my reader base and beyond. I know who my readers are, but with my social media outreach, I've been able to expand my base further. And Honigman has a good point on how to do that. What works for me may not work for you, so it does take some exploring to get the right balance.

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