Hemig: A picture is worth a thousand comments
July 18, 2014
Senior Vice President of the Grass Valley's River Valley Community Bank Mike Vasquez and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. We seem to run into each other at Rotary meetings, local nonprofit events and chamber mixers.
Enough time now that we have gotten to know each other. At dinner the other night he wagged his finger in my face. I figured we were now close enough for him to tell me what he thinks we're doing wrong at the newspaper.
Instead he just said, "You need to take another picture."
Apparently he really didn't approve of the photo that had accompanied my weekly column.
Now each day in the afternoon, I share a different photo. I try to find something unique and unusual while I’m around town. This has become a bit of a game for me and The Union’s Facebook friends.
This is not the first time I've heard this. At the Home & Garden Show, bagging food at the Interfaith Food Ministry, Wednesday morning Rotary and even when I spoke at this month's Nevada County Democrats meeting. Since I started writing my column several months ago I've had many, many people walk up to me and basically say "I read your column. You made a good point. And you need to take a new picture."
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At first I was flattered that people are looking out for me. But as the pressure mounted I figured I couldn't ignore The Union's readers. After all, I tell folks we do listen to your feedback.
But then I had to ask John Hart to take another photo. John has worked at The Union for 50 years. Me? Six months. He has outlasted seven publishers. Who am I to imply the photo isn't up to standard?
After Mike's lecture, I "manned up" and asked John for a new photo. John happily changed my mug shot last week. An improvement? Apparently only The Union's readers can judge. But, maybe it's the subject matter and not the photo?
Either way, this interest in a simple photo got me thinking. With so much discussion about a single photo, maybe I could provide more.
The beginning of this month I started sharing a different photo daily on The Union's Facebook page. It started with a photo I took with my iPhone while out and about. I posted the picture on The Union's wall and asked our Facebook friends where the photo was taken. I was surprised just how quickly people answered the question.
The first photo featured a tiny, hand-painted frog on a wall at Maria's Mexican Restaurant in Grass Valley. It was amazing how quickly people figured it out. Eleven people to be exact. And some were able to identify the actual table where the frog can be found!
Now each day in the afternoon, I share a different photo. I try to find something unique and unusual while I'm around town. This has become a bit of a game for me and The Union's Facebook friends.
Can I find a place they won't be able to guess? How fast can they figure it out?
So far I've posted 15 photos from places ranging from restaurants, outside murals, events and community facilities. Facebook has shared these photos with 21,287 people organically, which means they were popular enough for Facebook to push out without a payment from The Union. A total of 172 people have commented and 408 have "liked" the photos.
The best part of this is I'm having fun sharing interesting photos with our community. I mentioned in an earlier column that having fun is one of the core values at The Union.
Searching out these photos and sharing with The Union's Facebook friends is a fun and engaging way to interact with our community.
Would you like to participate? Just visit The Union's Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/theuniondotcom and "like" our page.
Then look for my photo each day, I label them as "Hemig photo of the day." But hurry to answer them. The competition is getting fierce.
I have to admit, I do get a giggle each time my iPhone chirps as readers answer the location within a few minutes of posting the photo.
I have a couple surprises planned and as these keep getting harder to identify, good luck figuring them out. I hope you enjoy the daily photos — and my new column picture.
Jim Hemig is publisher at The Union. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 530-477-4299.