Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein showed two things with his Facebook engagement before, during and after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey:
- He showed how to use Facebook to engage during a big story.
- He showed how effective routine Facebook engagement gives you a strong connection with people that is invaluable when the big story breaks.
I’ve written before about Jeff’s great connection with his community on Facebook. He uses Facebook regularly, asking questions of his 4,000-plus friends and they answer, sometimes giving him column material, sometimes giving feedback on a column and sometimes just deepening the connection with chatter among friends.
That routine conversation gave Jeff a deeply engaged community that stayed in touch as the storm approached and blew through New Jersey. With a mix of humor, impatience, empathy and reporting questions, Jeff had a running conversation with the community throughout the disaster. I’m going to highlight a few of the dozens of Facebook updates that Jeff posted relating to Sandy.
It was a mix of personal and professional, all with personality. So when Jeff asked for help, it wasn’t like a journalist was asking people to do his job for him. It was a trusted friend asking for information. And he got lots of replies, whatever he was asking or saying.