The Power of the Social Media Message

I decided to take a break from my having my friends guest blog this week to share with you how social media impacted where I live.

Social Media hits home

Wednesday morning, I watched as a story developed nearby my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. I got word of what happened where two journalists from WDBJ-TV were killed doing what most in the TV news business would think was a routine morning live shot.  As the word spread through social media I received a text from a friend in Arizona who shared a screenshot from a headline in England…he asked me, “What is going on in Roanoke?????” News, especially tragedies, spread fast.  My father who has been a broadcaster his whole life and is still in the business had calls and emails from family members who wanted to make sure that he wasn’t involved.

Information moves at a rapid pace through social media.  It is a conduit that most consume mass quantities of on a daily basis.  We look at our phones when we get up, check our computers throughout the day, and catch up in the evenings. Journalists have a very important and hard job of keeping up with what is going on in communities all around the world and feeding it to us the consumer.  They need to accurate and the competition is incredible to be first….because there is always someone right there ready to beat you to the punch.

Here in Roanoke I’ve seen an outpouring of compassion from WDBJ’s competitors who have risen to the occasion. Community organizations, businesses, along with law enforcement have joined in through social media. I’ve seen this extend to journalists around the country and world sharing their condolences, posting tribute pictures, sharing stories from WDBJ, and lending their support.  There have already been spontaneous prayer vigils at WDBJ along with community members leaving flowers, balloons, and stuff animals.  So many thinking of not only those who lost their lives but also the folks inside the building who somehow needed to carry on.

My personal belief

I believe with each tool we acquire in our lifetime, we should use it with respect.  The same applies to social media.  This tool should be used by each one of us carefully and respectfully.  Businesses use it to spread their message. As individuals we can use the platforms to uplift and encourage your co-workers, friends, and families….and how about your candidate??  Post pictures of people helping others.  Post a few of those animal videos most of us really like to see. Social media can be a place for the light to shine.

I welcome comments and feedback.  I’d love to hear your stories about how social media has encouraged you or ways you encourage others.


Mary Lu

Mary Lu Saylor

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Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Success Strategist with