What is Social Media and Why Does it Matter to the Ohio Irish American News, and to you?

Editor’s Corner
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Social Media can no longer be called new. It is vital, but not new.  Twitter just celebrated their 10th Anniversary on March 21st, 2006; Facebook preceded them, on February 4th, 2004. Small companies like ours have to find other ways to share our stories. There is the financial reason of course, but far deeper, is reach – reach is everything in publishing, and in advertising.

Social Media has been a Godsend for us, to meet our mission of seeding and promoting people, events, causes and concerns, all on a shoe-string budget, dedicated to being the gardner.  Preserving, presenting and promoting our rich Irish heritage is our passion and our fulfillment.  Through our many platforms of print, webpage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts, we reach and share with an additional 20,000 people each and every month.  In March and December, it is more than 50,000, above and beyond those who read and share our print edition at home and work.

Too many people listen to reply. Listen to understand. We can spray and pray, that someone will see our posts, react to them, and then heed the call to action by liking, sharing and most importantly, attending. But we’d rather have you as part of our army.

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Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox – We know each has followers and fans. Who is the audience on each platform?  They overlap, but don’t they have very distinctive audiences? What is their need? And how do you fulfill it? It is different for each network; it is different for each platform.

Did you know when you share someone’s post, the number of eyes that see it is 10x what it reaches with no shares, and that number increases at even greater proportions, as the number of shares and likes, activates another level in sheer numbers of people who see your post? What does that mean?

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The number of people who see your post is determined by rules written by Facebook, often called algorithms.  More of your audience sees your post every time a reader shares it to their own followers, so a good post gets a double bonus. Facebook is set up for popular posts to be shown to more people; unpopular ones die a quick death.
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Only 13% of your “followers”, people who have liked your page, actually see your posts, unless they have clicked a button, called ‘subscribe”, which makes sure they see ALL your posts.  This is how Facebook convinces you to buy ads on their site – more people will see your posts when you advertise than when you don’t. As people react to your posts or tweets, the percent of your followers who see it rises, dramatically. If you include an image, the eyes on you multiplies by 3-4 times.

Put feet to your faith, whether it be support for your business, your passion, your spiritual beliefs, your charity or your music. Be verbal, but be physical too – Get up; Lift up; and Show up. And then live it all over again, on Facebook. If you want to give a hand to a friend, share.

Go dtí an mhí seo chugainn, slán a fhágáil

(Until next month, goodbye)


“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
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May issue of the Ohio Irish American News. Cover features Andrew Fowler, Pipe Instructor, West Side Irish American Club Pipe Band. Photo by John O'Brien, Jr.
May issue of the Ohio Irish American News. Cover features Andrew Fowler, Pipe Instructor, West Side Irish American Club Pipe Band. Photo by John O’Brien, Jr.

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