By SEAN ROWLEY
To provide an additional public platform for events in the area, the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council has established a Facebook page.
The page, Tour Tahlequah, was created July 19 and is maintained by Kate Kelly, chamber tourism director.
“We try to include anything that might be of interest to residents, visitors and anyone thinking of visiting Tahlequah,” she said. “The tourism council wants to enlarge its presence on social media. The page uses the council logo.”
In less than two weeks, Tour Tahlequah has 200 “likes” on Facebook. Kelly said her goal is to gather 250 likes within a month.
“I sent an invitation to all my personal friends to like the page,” she said. “I try to update it three or four times a week. Just today, I included an announcement about the opening of a gallery at the Cherokee Arts Center.”
In its first days, Tour Tahlequah has promoted the Spider Art Gallery opening, the movies in Norris Park and the Tahlequah Rock and Mineral Show. As with many Facebook pages, comments can be posted.
Kelly finds some facets of the social media frontier challenging.
“The Tourism Council wants to establish a presence on several platforms,” she said.
“For me, the challenge was partly learning the technology, then mostly keeping up with the technology. Social media is not the future, it is here. It is essential that we stay in tune with the changes as they come along. I want to get us out there to be noticed and stay noticed, so people are aware of what a wonderful place Tahlequah is to live and visit.”
She found a particular aspect of maintaining social media mildy disconcerting.
“It feels weird to be on Facebook at work,” she said, smiling. “Of course, I’m going through information for the Tourism Council and not my personal stuff, but it is still fun. I feel like I am cheating.”
Kelly said any challenges are outweighed by the benefits of digital communication with a large audience.
“I love the fact that social media is so instant,” she said. “It isn’t like writing a press release, sending it out and wondering if somebody will carry it. You can put it up, see it online and take steps to see that it meets a lot of people quickly.”
An ancillary purpose of the page is to encourage people to visit the Tourism Council’s website, tourtahlequah.com.
“The council site has a very good calendar, with a list of attractions and things to do in and around Tahlequah,” Kelly said. “People can submit events of public interest for inclusion in the calendar.”
To find the page, search for “Tour Tahlequah” at www.facebook.com.