500,000 Page Views. All in 11 months! Well done Beyond and all the Down News supporters. www.downnews.co.uk A Page View is basically the number of times people (Fans and Non-Fans) have viewed a news feed story posted the Down News page. Thanks to all the loyal supporters across the Down district and as far away as New Zealand and North America, Down News has pushed on steadily and achieved a significant step to the ‘big million’. [caption id="attachment_30513" align="alignleft" width="221" caption="Down News has now exceeded 500,000 post views in 11 months."][/caption] I was delighted to have won the Best Use of Social Media category in the Down Council Business Awards last February and have continued to try and develop Down News as an innovative media experience. There have been many ups and downs, but my enthusiasm is 101% and I am determined to make this project succeed… and it will! Down News is read in Facebook in many countries across the world – the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, India, Bangladesh, Austria, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emerites and even the Isle of Man! It is read in cities in Scotland and England, and is also currently translated into 11 languages (sometimes more) – Irish, German, Polish, Spanish, French, Arabic, Italian, Romanian, Dutch, Norwegian, Chinese (Taiwan). Who uses Down News Facebook? The majority are female between 18-54, with men lagging a few percent behind. There is a much smaller percentage of more elderly people but everyone including ‘silver surfers’ are very welcome to join in the craic on Down News Facebook. The numbers of individual monthly users corresponds closely to the number of weekly users which shows a strong loyalty with the Down News / Jim Masson brand. So… everyone can pat themselves on the back for making this happen. It’s a bit of local social media history for our area. And shows businesses what can be done when they apply a strategic approach to the use of social media. [caption id="attachment_30515" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Jim Masson of Down News, centre, receives the award for the Best Use of Social Media last February from former Down Council Chairman Cllr Eamonn O'Neill accompanied by TV Presenter Lynda Bryans during the Down Business Awards in the Burrendale Hotel. "][/caption] The Down News website is also seeing a significant rise in its hits and my aim is to bring news to you from across the Down area to your screen- whether you are in a provincial town or in a rural area. Mostly I write the articles by myself but I have a number of excellent writers who have supported me and I am very grateful for their regular contributions. In the months ahead I hope to grow the number of contributors to Down News in news and sports and this will provide opportunities particularly for younger writers eager to cut heir teeth and gain valuable experience. I am keen to give different groups especially hard-working local charities a voice. Down News enjoys a non-political, non-religious, non-aligned position which many people find refreshing. I stand rigorously by this principle and enjoy working with all political parties, groups, creeds, races, ethnic group and religious persuasions. It is inclusive, open and progressive. And it is not an easy stance to take given our colourful political and historic past and complex culture. So… Down News is for you! All of you. Many many thanks again for all your support and I look forward to driving forward and hitting the million mark on Facebook on Page Views and then… I just might break out and celebrate. There is much to be done. I will press ahead and work with all of the people of the Down area as best I can. I am aware of the great economic struggles that face us and our business community in these difficult times. In times like these we must support each other, and local people must support their local businesses, and local businesses must also support each other. Down News will continue to move on to the next level. Lastly, a special thank you to Beyond, the Down Business Centre, social media consultant Bill McCartney of Net4Wise Owls, and the many business specialists who have given me much valued support since I started. And a special thank you to all my new Friends who have chatted with me online in-depth on issues and have been very supportive… they have been brilliant. Keep up the hits on Facebook and join me on Twitter. Keep an eye on the website www.downnews.co.uk Be part of Down News… your free, award winning online newspaper. Thank you again. Jim Masson.