When we received a Facebook message from Amy Forehand about her widely viewed Vine account, it seemed like an opportunity to let our readers know about a local video blog that was gaining the public's attention.
Plus, Taz, Gup, Bitsy and Caesar were pretty much the cutest things I'd seen all week, and I believed our readers would enjoy their story.
But after reviewing reporter Matthew Brown's story, I realized this was much more than a cute-dogs story. It was a trend story — which, as everyone in the newsroom knows, is one of my favorite kinds of stories!
Amy's story shows the power of social media. Basically, cute dogs plus lots of clicks equals great exposure and increases the chances of business opportunities.
That's all it took — posting six-second video clips on her "Four Florida Pugs" website — for Amy to get a one-year endorsement deal with GetPetBox.com.
And with that deal in the can, I believe more opportunities are on the horizon.
Yes, in many ways, social media separates us more than ever. A Facebook friend often isn't even someone you can trust, let alone have a cup of coffee with. (Oh, yes; I use those privacy features and offer restricted wall access in those cases.) And I could write a lot about that topic. (For now, though, just click here for a powerful viral video on social media's separation.)
Despite its flaws, social media like Facebook and Twitter actually can bring some groups closer together.
For instance, I tweet mostly North Okaloosa news and commentary, but sometimes I'll throw out something about a TV show I'm watching. It's the only Twitter account I have, after all! Plus, all work and no play... as they say!
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I happened to listen to USA's new female-buddy comedy "Playing House." (I was assembling a new patio table and needed background noise; that's just how I operate!) It's not something I'd normally watch, but the writing and acting were sharp, so I tweeted that sentiment, tagged stars Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair and, what do you know, Lennon retweeted and favorited my tweet.
The same day, I was chatting with Panama City News Herald Managing Editor Will Glover about NBC's "About a Boy" (again, a show I never watched, but which served as background noise while working on another home improvement project). I tagged actress and star Minnie Driver, and she favorited my tweet!
And yes, the same day, I tagged Dublin's lord mayor in tweets about two Irishmen radio personalities' recent visit to Crestview while they spent time with their friend, Mary Gadeken, from Baker. And he retweeted me!
Before social media, there wasn't that instant interaction with famous, busy or otherwise less accessible people. (And that's also true for round-the-clock-workin' newspaper editors; readers tweet me all the time; in fact, a couple of weeks ago, one reader didn't get her weekend edition and I tweeted her a message to expect me at her house soon, 'cause I'm delivering!)
We're all interconnected in a way we haven't been before, and that's made business opportunities crop up for people who otherwise would have taken the long road to success.
Justin Bieber is one success story — depending on your point of view — after being discovered from YouTube videos. And more and more actors are investing in professional studio equipment and making home-based businesses with just a few hours' effort each week.
All you need is a large following and an ad-supported model.
Who knows, Amy Forehand could be well on her way to similar success.
And since we're going to tag Ellen DeGeneres when we tweet this story to our online readers, we won't be too surprised if we see Amy's dream come true and she shows up on daytime television in the near future.
What's your view? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @cnbeditor.