Regular visitors to the New Straits Times website at www.nst.com.my would have noticed recently the 'nstonline on facebook' box on the right hand side, a new feature that we have introduced.
We started nstonline on facebook as an experiment, based on the idea that in today's digital age, having a presence on as many platforms as possible will increase exposure and reach to a wider audience.
At first, nstonline was a facebook group, and had more than 200 members by inviting our personal facebook friends who then invited their friends, etc.
But it turned out that as a facebook group, the only way to update members was by sending them email messages, which can be a problem for people who receive a lot of messages in their mailbox.
The solution came from one of our members at the time, who suggested that we switch to a fanpage instead. That way, updates immediately appear on the news feed of fans. We took her advice, and the nstonline fanpage was born.
Within a week, as most of the group members switched to the fanpage, we had 232 fans. Within a month it rose to about 900 fans. When we finally decided to put the fanbox on the nstonline website, within days we had 1,000 fans. As at yesterday, they numbered more than 1,200.
I am truly touched and thankful for their continued support.
The challenge now, of course, is to make optimum use of this new platform, to engage and encourage interaction with readers, and among readers themselves.
The fanpage already has several photo galleries, fan posts and discussions. These were put up by nstonline, but the same can be done by the fans themselves.
I'm sure with more participation from readers and nst staff, we can make the fanpage even more exciting and interactive.
For those who have not yet seen the fanpage, the url is www.facebook.com/nstonline
I invite you to join us in this experimental experience.
"There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes." - US engineer and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983).