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Fans benefit by following Indiana State Fair on Twitter and Facebook

Fair to teach visitors about social media with daily tutorials

INDIANAPOLIS – Do you tweet? That question keeps coming up in more conversations these days as people continue to flock to the World Wide Web and discover the value of social media.

What is social media? Wikipedia defines it as “online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies.” It goes on to say that social media “is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content; it’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many).”

 

In other words, social media is how people have begun to share thoughts and information with others in an online group setting. Two of the most popular social Web sites to emerge are Facebook and Twitter, and the Indiana State Fair is using both.

“Using these popular social media outlets allows us to keep many people updated on the latest developments of the State Fair and other Indiana State Fairgrounds events,” Cindy Hoye, the State Fair’s executive director, said. “Just as importantly, we can ask people questions and get immediate feedback on different issues that may help us put on a better event.”

The fair began its Facebook page in the fall of 2008 and now has more than 2,800 “fans.” The fair’s Twitter page, @IndyStateFair, went live less than a month ago, but already has more than 600 “followers.”

Why bother to be an Indiana State Fair fan or follower? Many reasons.

Fans and followers were the first people to find out that performers like MC Hammer and Billy Currington were recently added to the fair’s line-up of free concerts. They’ve also received tips on the best ways to get to the Indiana fair as well as the new foods debuting at this year’s 17-day event. Some fans have received more tangible benefits, including free admission and concert tickets.

Gerrian DeJong Tombers, Indianapolis, participated in an Indiana State Fair photo contest on Facebook and won free admission tickets after fair organizers chose her photo as the best.

“Social media is a great way to share the fair events and activities with friends,” Tombers said. “It was fun to send my friends and my daughter’s friends to the site to watch the photo contest unfold and read the comments. They have since become a “fan” of the site.”

Fair organizers will continue updating its social media networks with more tips, deals and general conversation. They also hope to educate people not currently using these outlets with “Social Media 101: Learning Facebook, Twitter and More!” These tutorials, conducted by 4-H members, will show visitors how easy it is to start using social media and all the benefits they offer. If nothing else, they will educate uninformed parents why their kids are so involved in this growing phenomenon. The classes will take place three times daily at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall in the 4-H Education Complex.