Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Saying hello to social media

Post by Brian O'Neill on June 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm with 1 Comment »
June 12, 2013 7:26 pm

In the never-ending race to stay three steps behind the technology curve, Blue Byline will now have its own Facebook and Twitter account. This is cutting edge, folks. Assuming this is 2007.

I told my eldest son I was creating a Facebook page, then waited patiently for him to acknowledge his ultra cool dad. His response, “I haven’t been on Facebook in months – that’s old school.” was somewhat short of my expectation.

Still, the social media animal must be fed. Since its 2004 launch as “”, it has added over a billion accounts and its intertwining global media links make it impossible to ignore.


In a similar manner, Twitter has managed to seamlessly insinuate itself into virtually every fabric of the connected world. With about half a billion users, the company that launched in 2006 as an outlet for self indulgent rambling has become a platform for high level political discussion, financial announcements and even a split second source for results at the 2012 Olympics.

My eyes were opened last week when I sat down with The News Tribune’s tech guru, Ian Swenson, for a crash course. My eyes were immediately drawn to one of his computer screens, which displayed about fifty Twitter icons representing many of the news organizations the TNT follows: the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and King 5 News. The list went on and on.

It was a reminder of a bygone era, when a gray-haired man in a white shirt and tie, the sleeves rolled up, runs through the news room and pounces on the narrow line of paper spewing out of the ticker tape printer. He reads it aloud, his eyebrows slowly crawling up his forehead like little bugs, before bellowing, “Stop the Presses!”

Twitter, I was told, has largely replaced that model. In a rush to feed its hungry readership, virtually every reputable media organization around the world posts its stories on Twitter. Like Facebook, this software phenomenon has moved out of obscurity into the center of global consciousness, where the paths of billions of users cross every day.

That’s where Blue Byline needs to be as well.

I know, I know. This is a small column in a secondary market (no offense Tacoma – embrace the underdog!), and it’s unlikely there are a million eyes out there scanning the Internet for stories and opinions about crime in Pierce County. Then again, sometimes Tacomans, like the stories themselves, venture further afield.

So, whether you are homesick for the City of Destiny in some far corner of the world or just down the block, you are welcome to follow Blue Byline on both Twitter and Facebook ( I promise not to write in all caps or post details of medical procedures.

Won’t make a difference to my kids, though, ‘cuz it’s way too late to be cool.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. I think that we should go back to semaphore and smoke signals
    if we can get past the EPA.

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