The Union Daily Times — Union County’s hometown, local newspaper since 1850 — has taken the next step in its Web presence and added a Facebook page to its list of Internet offerings to readers.
“The Union Daily Times has been around for 159 years and has added a new technique to keep our readers informed,” said Times Publisher Ty Ransdell. “As technology updates and changes so does the news and media and how we reach readers and advertisers. Our Facebook page offers RSS feeds back to www.uniondailytimes.com where you can get local news, information and reach local advertisers and, of course, there is always the printed edition.”
Facebook is a social-networking Web site started by Mark Zuckerberg and cofounders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin who launched the site out of their Harvard dorm room in 2004.
“Social networking is a way to stay connected with friends and family and to keep up with what is going on,” Ransdell said. “It works great for old high school friends to reunite or keeping a family member who is serving over seas in the military informed. It serves many purposes and many walks of life. You can easily make a post saying you are going out with friends and let’s all meet at the local hamburger stand in an hour and you don’t even need to pick up the phone to call.”
Facebook has since expanded and can now be used by anyone — including businesses — who wants to become a member. Facebook currently has more than 300 million active users. According to the Web site, “Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers.”
“The internet has changed our world and has made our lives easier,” Ransdell said. “It’s like when cell phones first came on the market. They were big and bulky and even came in a bag. Now we find people of varying ages carrying a cell phone and we wonder how we used to live with out them.”
The new site will allow Facebook members to become “fans” of The Union Daily Times and share their thoughts, story ideas, information or anything else they’d like to with not only the newspaper but with each other.
There are spots to leave comments about other people’s posts on the newspaper’s “Wall” page, it has blog capability and there are discussion forums, a review section and fans can even post fan photos on the site. The Times’ page also offers those RSS feeds Ransdell spoke about showing fans stories from the newspaper’s Web site — www.uniondailytimes.com — as it is updated and links back to the official site to those local news, sports, advertising and opinion pieces.
Social networking has been around for a while and The Times is glad to be a part of it now. It’s not only going to help the newspaper’s staff keep up to date with the heartbeat of the community but also allow them to interact directly with its readers.
“It (social networking) has gone through various stages from instant messaging so you can easily chat with friends or coworkers on the other end to bloggers posting their thoughts and proposing questions to all who will listen and respond,” Ransdell said. “There are so many forums and discussions groups out on the Web that it will make your head spin.”
And The Times is glad to now be able to bring its readers a new way to interact with its staff and continue getting the same great local coverage it has provided Union County over the last nearly 160 years.
Become a fan! If you’re a member, you can find the page above by searching for “The Union Daily Times” on Facebook or you also can find the page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Union-Daily-Times/187653561030.
HOW TO JOIN FACEBOOK:
n It’s pretty easy. Go to www.facebook.com and follow the directions. When you reach the site, you’ll first see the above page. Fill in the blanks and just be sure to have a valid email address as Facebook will send you a confirmation message before your account can be activated. Once you have confirmed your FB account, log in and just follow the directions. You can add tons of stuff to your FB page — whatever content, photos and applications you’d like.
n Facebook is a social utility helping people communicate more efficiently with their friends, families and coworkers. The company develops technologies facilitating the sharing of information through the social graph, the digigal mapping of people’s real-world social connections.
(From the Facebook Press Room, www.facebook.com)