I'm still laughing out loud... Margaret Woda, Community Activist. That's me!
My recent Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper wasn't my first, but it is the only one to achieve prompt tangible results. When I read Mike in Tucson's post about trying to get our names in the print media, I knew my story would be a good follow-up to that. But let me go back to the beginning:
Like many of you, I have several Google Alerts set up, including one for my community. It turns out there are quite a few other Croftons - one in Kentucky, another in Nebraska, one in Canada and several in the United Kingdom - and I enjoy reading about all of them, when I get an alert. A Google Alert received earlier this month really caught my eye. It was a series of book reviews by the staff of Crofton Library that I thought would be great to mention on my community blog, Focus On Crofton. There was just one problem - nowhere in the banner or on this newly discovered website did it say WHICH Crofton Library.
I loved the format and content, so I decided to blog about the website and just make light of the fact that I didn't know if it was a product of the Crofton MARYLAND Library. (Click here to read my post.) A few hours later I was excited to see two comments - the first was written by a member of the staff indicating that YES, it is OUR Crofton Library. I was so pleased and proud of myself for pointing our community toward this wonderful resource. That lasted about two minutes, until I read the next comment by someone else on the Library staff informing me the library was disabling access to this website, apparently as a result of my blog post about it.
You can read my initial response in the comments to that post - but, after sleeping on it, I decided to write a Letter to the Editor of our local newspaper to challenge the decision by our PUBLIC library blocking PUBLIC access to their book reviews. My letter appeared three weeks later in Thursday's edition of the Crofton Crier, March 27, and I received an email the next morning informing me that public access is now restored to Crofton's Read and Review.
As I said earlier, I'm still laughing out loud about this. My upbeat and articulate letter (if I do say so myself) complimented the disabled website and mentioned my community blog, exposing it to an audience of people who probably never visited Focus On Crofton before. The spike in visits to my blog on Thursday and Friday attest to the benefit of that exposure AND the Library's website is again available to the public. No amount of money could have purchased such effective marketing for my blog!
I've written Letters to the Editor before - maybe once or twice a year - usually in response to an article about the local real estate market. Periodically, people (usually agents) mention to me they've seen my letters; it certainly can't hurt my image as a knowledgeable local real estate professional, provided this strategy is used in moderation.
Sure, I'd prefer to have NBC or The Washington Post contact me for an interview but, if they don't, I can take matters into my own hands by writing a Letter to the Editor for my local newspaper.
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