The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

In withdrawal. Miserable. Frantically craving. Anxious. Extremely antsy. Jittery.

That was how University of Maryland students described what it was like to be without social media.

Asked to spend 24 hours without it, many found they couldn’t. Most caved in to what researchers realized is basically an addiction.

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who came of age in the time of Facebook. For good or bad, social media plays a major role in how we communicate.

The Daily Tar Heel amped up efforts to reach readers through social media last year when we put someone in charge of building and interacting with the Chapel Hill community. As a news organization, we succeed only when we’re in touch with our readers.

We’re one of the few college papers to have a dedicated community manager, and we’re serious about interacting with you in person and online.

My job this year is to make sure we hear from you. Whether you hate what we’re doing, love it, want more of this or less of that — we want to know.

What exactly does that mean?

At the end of last year, we asked readers what they looked for from us. You said you wanted to see us linking to stories, breaking news throughout the day and interacting with others.

With that in mind, here’s what we’ve got planned:

— Meetings in person. Online is great, but face-to-face talks can’t be beat. We’re holding three community meet-ups next week (Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Tuesday at 2 p.m.) at our new office at 151 E. Rosemary St. The meetings will be an informal way for you to meet the editors and talk about ideas you have for us. And every Thursday you can find me at The Daily Grind at noon, where we can chat in person over coffee.

— Feature your photos. We sent five freshmen out with disposable cameras to document their first weekend at UNC, and we’d like to do more events like this. We can’t be everywhere always, but we want to share what you’re doing. So whenever you take photos, send them to We’ll continue running That’s What You Said on Mondays on page 3.

— Interacting online. We’re committed to retweeting more of what you say on Twitter and replying to what you’re saying there and on Facebook.

We also want to interact with you in other ways. Have a blog? Let us know and we’ll share your posts. Sometimes, we’ll ask for help finding sources for stories. We don’t want this to be a one-way conversation, so if you think it is, tell us.
In a nutshell, we want to be responsive to you, your interests and your concerns.

There’s no “right” way to do any of these things, but there are wrong ways, and there are better ways — and we’ll be figuring out what works throughout the year. We hope you’ll let us know how we do.

Sara Gregory is The Daily Tar Heel’s Community Manager. She is a senior history major from Charlotte. Contact her on Facebook, Twitter, or by e-mail at

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