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@verylocal: Another way of connecting with Rapidian content

Underwriting support from:
<a href="">@verylocal</a>, The Rapidan's lovable Twitter robot

@verylocal, The Rapidan's lovable Twitter robot

Rapidian poll results

Rapidian poll results

The tweet heard 'round The Rapidian office

The tweet heard 'round The Rapidian office

From Rapidian staff*: Many of you responded to the recent Rapidian poll, “How do you primarily get your Rapidian Updates?” I would be lying were I to suggest that this question was posed without somewhat of an ulterior motive. We have been attempting to gauge how exactly readers find new content on the site and, more importantly, how they want to receive this information.

Over the past couple of months we have tried scads of ways to connect Grand Rapidians with Rapidian content, including a traditional RSS, posting new articles on our Facebook page as they come in, and a weekly email digest that ties together all of the recent stories from the previous week. Additionally, we use our regular old Twitter account, @TheRapidian, to announce new stories from first-time reporters and to announce the Photo of the Day.

These attempts, for the most part, seem to coincide with the results of the poll, which suggest that Twitter, Facebook, and RSS are all popular ways of receiving feeds of new Rapidian content. Twitter, the second most popular option after simply just “checking the site yourself,” was a particularly interesting result because it is the one platform that we specifically don’t provide a feed of all new articles on the site. Why? Because it would be annoying.

Many Twitter users rightly hold their streams sacred, and that most twitter users wouldn’t want The Rapidian clogging theirs up by adding more noise to the system, right? This is what we assumed.

Apparently we were wrong.

A well-timed tweet from Twitter user @grbrit imploring us to “tweet every time a new story is posted” started an interesting conversation between the Brit, some fellow Twitter users and Rapidian staffers. This conversation helped us realize instances where having a full feed of new Rapidian content floating around the Twitter-sphere could actually be a useful tool for connecting people with the content. But how can we do it without being totally annoying?

Well, I would like to introduce you to @verylocal, a second twitter account that consists only of a complete feed of all new Rapidian articles. We made a second account so that Twitter users can choose to opt-in to the feed (and, of course, opt-out at any time) and so that @TheRapidian can carry on as usual. Users who want updates about the site and conversational charm can follow @TheRapidian, those who simply want the feed can follow @verylocal, and those who want the full The Rapidian Twitter experience can follow both. It's up to you.

From a technical standpoint, we are using the popular HootSuite Twitter client to look at the Rapidian RSS feed and post up to five new articles on an hourly basis. Hopefully it's not too overwhelming.

In short, follow @verylocal for all of your constant-ambient-stream-of-The-Rapidian needs!

*Each week, a member of the Rapidian staff will publish a piece relating to goings-on at The Rapidian, developments in the world of citizen journalism and tips for making the most of the site.


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