For the last nine months or so, I've been taking care of the content on the newspaper's website bayofplentytimes.co.nz and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. I do my best to keep our website looking fresh and interesting and I update local news, sport, business and other stories every day of the week.
The story that stood out on bayofplentytimes.co.nz this week was "Nudist warning for Papamoa," written by Ellen Irvine and published in the Bay of Plenty Weekend as well as on the website on Saturday morning.
It's a story on the area of the north-western end of Papamoa Beach between Sunrise Ave and Pacific View Rd that is well-known as a nudist beach, but police say it is not appropriate for it to stay that way. Signs along the dunes, posted by the landowners Papamoa 2B Trust, now warn against nudity in the area.
A link to the story was published on the paper's Facebook page, which provoked some interesting comments like this one from Penelope Conway:
"I was born and bred at the Mount. We used to undo our bikini top when we sunbathed and that was at Tay Street Beach so apart from skimpy bikini bottoms for females sunbathing with hardly anything on is nothing new."
Councillor Murray Guy, also a fervent user of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, added a link to the story to his own Facebook page and commented:
"Seems to me the only new event is an offended jogger and a policeman saying the area is no longer suitable for use by the sun seeker element. Seems to me nothing has changed other than somebody wanting to dictate how others should live.
There is enough beach for everyone. Lewd behaviour occurs in all areas, albeit some more offensive than others."
Call me liberated, originating from the Netherlands, but I see nothing wrong with having a dedicated space to be nude and feel free.
People seem to enjoy quirky stories on bayofplentytimes.co.nz. You might remember the mummified cat, or the house in Te Puke that was built more than 50 years ago but has never been lived in. Both stories were social media hits, with the cat being shared online to end up in places as far away as Norway. Strange things happen all the time and I'll make sure to keep posting the stories online.
Social media is a clever tool for marketing too, and using Facebook is by far the most popular way to do it. It has more than 637 million users worldwide. What started as a place for people to chat and share photos has quickly grown to become a smart business tool.
It's great to see so many local businesses and services using social media to keep people informed and entertained. The Bay of Plenty Police is planning to make good use of social media to spread messages during the Rugby World Cup in September. Bay of Plenty police district communications manager Jacky James said the pages were set up not only to provide a new way of communicating with the local community but also to reach visitors before they arrive in the region for major events.
Of the local businesses that use social media, my pick this week is Repertoire. They joined Facebook last month and they use it for giveaways and styling tips like this week's wardrobe assessment. The file can be downloaded from www.facebook.com/repertoirenz.
I found the tips very useful and de-cluttered the lot that night. Dropping off six or seven bags stuffed with pre-loved clothing made the op-shop people happy and hurt me just a little. I couldn't part with them before for sentimental reasons I suppose, but I just had to face the facts. Size 8 and 10 will never fit me again.
Meanwhile, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges has been updating his Facebook page from San Francisco. This must have been the last stop on his trip to the US, where he spent nearly three weeks learning about America's foreign policy process. By his status updates and photos, it shows that he had plenty of time visiting art galleries and museums as well.
Mr Bridges has more than 4500 Facebook Friends and he's never too busy to comment on people's comments or to clarify things.
It's an interesting page to follow, even if you have no intention to vote National.
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