Socially Speaking with Rose Bowen and

Social media has become an important part of the business plan of many local New River Valley local businesses in the last several months. This is the second in the series of posts highlighting those businesses, and showing all of us how they’re using the web to grow their business. I’d love to highlight you, as well – send an email to Jeremy at, or hit up @NRVLiving on Twitter.

This post is with Rose Bowen, editor of

1.  Tell us about yourself, and what you do for NRVNews?

I’m a web developer, as well as editor of NRVNews (a regional website for the New River Valley) as well as a group of satellite sites for surrounding regions. (,,,, and

2.  How long have you been using Twitter, and what do you like about it?
I’ve only been using Twitter for a couple of weeks now.  I’m still feeling my way through learning how it works and what its benefits might be.  Right now what we’re doing is posting a link to the news we post as we update it.  That seems to get more visitors to those news stories, which I would assume might be additional traffic.  But the jury is still out on this right now as far as we’re concerned. With our sites being regional rather than national in nature, I don’t know how much of a help it will be.  Time will tell.

3.  Are there other sites or social media applications you’re using for your business?
I’ve got personal accounts on Facebook and Myspace and Shoutlife and several others, but this is the first time I’ve registered one for a business.

4.  Why did you get started with this social media stuff?
LOL, because so many of my clients were inviting me to use it…and then I noticed how many in the news media put their Twitter accounts up and promoted them.  So curiosity was the biggest motivator.

5.  One of the things I hear people say a lot is that all of this “social” stuff takes time.  How much time do you dedicate to social media each week?
Maybe that’s why I don’t see a huge benefit to it…I only spend a few minutes a day on it.  But realistically, I don’t have time to spend a lot more on it!

6.  What local blogs do you make sure to read regularly, or local people you follow that we should all know about?
I don’t read many blogs, quite frankly. I maintain two blogs of my own ( and, mostly as outlets for the ramblings of my hyperactive mind. Because I work with the web full time, I use it more as a tool, like a library that never closes.  I have a tendency to be extremely pragmatic. If I visit a blog or a website, and it doesn’t interest me on the first visit, that’s it, I almost never go back.

I visit the major news sites once a day and skim to see if anything interests me. Locally is one I read at least once a week.  And is a weekly video blog on news that is so creative and good to start your week with a chuckle, I have to go there every Monday.

7.  What should someone know about that they might not learn from your comments on sites like Twitter, or Facebook?  An amusing anecdote, perhaps, or something interesting about the company we might not already know?
Great question! NRVNews and the sister sites get their traffic almost completely by search engines and referrals. We have to rely on those who visit and like us to tell their friends.  This became sharply apparently during the manhunts in the area the last two years.  During those high tension situations, word got around about our NRV Scanner stream. People found they could listen to the emergency crews doing their jobs and hear what was happening in the area.  We went from 25 listeners to over 1500 in an hour! We had to scramble to keep the stream going for that kind of listener traffic.  The website was getting hit so heavily that access was slow, but the audio stream handled the load very well.  We got emails from people in business and even the local police stations who used our scanner channel to keep informed.  That was really  gratifying!  But beyond that, the scanner was also a good introduction for visitors.  Once people found us for the first time and looked around at what we offered (like free classified ads), they came back again and again as regular users.  Our stats show that visitors come back two or three times a day, which says we must be doing something right, something our visitors feel is needed.  There are four top sections for traffic on our site after the front page: the classifieds, the arcade, the scanner, and the obituaries.  After that would be movie listings.  So far we’re getting more than 50,000 visits a month on average. Not bad for a small two-person operation on a shoestring budget!

Thanks to Rose and NRVNews for participating and sharing how NRVNews is getting started in social media!  If you want to tell us how your business is using social media, email me at Jeremy at or hit up @NRVLiving on Twitter.

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