The perfect combination: Print and Social Media Tools

Recently the paper where I worked more than 16 years announced that it will close its print edition in December 2016 and go digital only. This was sad news but it is a reality in the media business — a cruel reality for the staff that suffered the mismanagement of a new and inexperienced administration, which destroyed more than 100 years of publishing history.

I can’t help but compare the new management with Ryan Fitzgibbon, founder of the magazine Hello Mr., who had the vision to integrate print and digital and ended up with a great product. Smart guy.

Very smart that Fitzgibbon saw the power of social media and combined it with the print style of a magazine that he would be proud to see on his coffee table. Because of his background in design, he made a big difference in the creation of his magazine, which has a 7,000 twice a year circulation.

Also, Fitzgibbon is using Instagram and other social media tools to complement his print product. With these tools, Fitzgibbon engages with his users to show them how the magazine is made.

The slide that Fitzgibbon showed during his presentation to our class was very attractive, clear and neat. It really showed the point that he wants to make with his magazine about men who date men. Compare to my use of Instagram. In the past I didn’t see the point of Instagram. But once my master’s program required me to use it, I understood its power. Someone told me, “It’s like Facebook without words, only pictures.” I started by posting images that told how I was feeling that day. It made sense for me, because I knew the meaning, but not to my contacts.

I decided the following week to start selecting pictures of things that I liked and that would make more sense for my contacts, even though I didn’t have many. From the third week until now I have just continued to post, but now I’m trying to use photos that will have something to do with my community.

I strongly believe that a media product doesn’t have to “kill” other parts to survive. As Fitzgibbon did, a smart administration can use the power of social media to make the print product better and stronger — to make a product that continues to serve the community that it was created for and last another 100 years.

I’m inspired by Fitzgibbon to continue learning about the different social media tools and to use them as he did to create Hello Mr. At the beginning he used social media to build a community to get to know that community and its needs. Then he created the magazine, knowing that he already had a community that would be interested in his product.

It’s vital to know that you have a community that supports you and believes in the product that you created, that it’s going to be useful. That is what I really want at the end of this program.

Right now I’m trying to build my community — new immigrants and the criminal justice system — to get to know them and learn about their needs. Then, with the knowledge of social media tools, I want to create a product that will bridge between the police and the new immigrants. At the end, it will make a better society.

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