However, one of my favorite iconic newspapers, The New York Times, is finally getting smart. From my local Brooklyn blog, Brownstoner, it was announced today that “The New York Times is introducing a hyper-local neighborhood blogging initiative today accepting postings on cultural events, bar and restaurant openings, real estate, arts, fashion, health, social concerns and anything else that goes on in the ‘SoHo of Brooklyn’. Beginning with pilot sites covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange, N.J., each site will accept text stories, photos and short films and will be overseen by a writer/editor from the Times.”
What I love about this announcement is that the Times is figuring out a way to build community. What’s also interesting, is that they are focusing on a very specific audience segment. Another really smart move. They are taking what’s important about Social Media – making it authentic, transparent and relevant and they are bringing passionate people together who love their neighborhoods — and connecting them. What’s also interesting is that I personally know that there has been a huge migration of people from these Brooklyn neighborhoods to these NJ, suburban communities. The authenticity by bringing neighbors together and connecting them is spot on. Maybe this is a real estate strategy too?!
What I don’t think people, who are new to Social Media understand, is that doesn’t always have to be about Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. That’s where other so-called strategists fall down when working with clients. They push to develop communities on these sites as a band-aid approach, but never really take a look at the over-arching digital strategy for the brand. That’s where I differ from other strategists. I want to know the business objectives and the total brand strategy when working with my clients. Shame on those who just push Facebook pages at you.
Sorry, I digress…Social Media is very much about connecting people with aligned interests. That’s what brings value to your readers and audience. And, in this case, the funny thing is that I happen to live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, right in the footprint of this social exchange — with many friends and relatives in South Orange/Maplewood NJ area. That hits me right in my “community”. So, NY Times, nice job. Really nice job. I just may go and contribute some valuable content to my community. Isn’t that what being social is all about?