Paulding Co. Georgia has been experimenting with new media since 2003
Paulding County Georgia is in a media market of 135,000 folks located just west of Cobb county in the Atlanta DMA. With 25,000 residents in 1980 (rapid growth), and relatively slow commercial growth (about 18 percent of the tax digest is business properties vs. the balance residential) despite its size, market was never 'mature' enough to support a local daily newspaper in the time before the Internet arrived.. The last local radio effort died in the mid-1990s leaving the community being poorly served by the Atlanta media. Local media consists of two free-distribution weekly's, one paid distribution weekly (only one of which does more than a cursory job on news) and two monthly magazines, one of which is 100 percent advertising.
This made Paulding county an excellent target for a new Internet media. Based on forum software, Paulding.com launched first in 2000, but was abandoned as the Internet penetration was not great enough. By 2003, with the Internet in 93 percent of the high-school junior's homes according to a survey done by a local community college, the time was ripe for the relaunch of the community message board.
The site uses text, involves the business community in ways unique to it, and has created a place where folks know to go for news and information on election days, when the sky falls and fills the low places with water (the county was a flash-flood disaster area in Sept. 09), when key news happens and most other times. During the disaster, residents were able to share open roads, relate issues and even provide direct help to each other through the messaging.
The site defies conventional measures of participation with over half of the 20,000 registered members having posted at least once. Over ten percent of the registered users have posted 100 or more times.
Overall, the site passed three-million posts on January 5th, 2010. Also on that date, PCOMTV, a livestream live and pre-recorded feed, recorded its first millionth minute of viewing. Video fare is principally a weekly local news report, a program called PCOM4Teens, a gadget show, interview shows and even a live Christmas Parade. Also, the more included 600 aggregate hours spent viewing the hour and half local debate sponsored by the site and a couple of sponsoring businesses between three candidates offering themselves for a recently vacated state house seat. Prior to that, we had interviews and presentations of the three candidates that ran in a separate half-hour program and recorded over 300 hours of aggregate viewing.
Paulding.com is supported by a combination of memberships and advertisements. One membership form - the business membership - gives those marketing a service or product a way to interact with folks in the community and offer more than just advertisements; but congratulations, condolences and even personal opinion ... in essence making the person offering the service more than the typical unidimensional presentation possible through traditional advertising.
Finally, because of the activity of the site in relation to the local search term "paulding" (or even other adjacent geo-sensitive term), local businesses get enhanced presentation free in google search for goods and services that use that term. (To wit: try the search string: " 2010 Equinox Cobb " and see if you don't come up with an 'ad' from one of our business members.)
Hyperlocal is the last frontier of the Internet. Paulding.com exploits that promise by providing this Georgia community its only daily news outlet.
Thad Morrison III commented
Paulding.com was a great source of information during our 500 year flood last september. P.com showed which roads were passable and what was closed as well as news on what was actually happening around the community. P.com really is our only source of REAL news as well as insight on local politics and the such.
Marie Ferguson Dockery commented
Paulding.com is the place to learn about what is happening in the community. Many people have been helped through this media. People can stay informed about politics, education and just everything around us. Great place to socialize and communicate with others in the community.
Not only is Paulding.com the best source of local news, entertainment and community support, it's been great for small business in the county. As a small business owner Paulding.com is the best marketing device I've ever seen to promote local business.
I have been a member of Paulding.com since it's early days. If I have a question about what is going on in our county, I check the Paulding.com message boards first. If it's not there, I will pose the question and someone is sure to answer it.
In addition to checking the site multiple times a day to see what is going on, I have met many great people via the site. Our community pulls together in times of need as well as for recreation.
I can't imagine living somewhere that does not have a site like Paulding.com.
Paulding.com has helped so many people over the years. If anyone has a serious issue, the entire community can pull together and provide the needed help. Political issues are debated, sometimes rather hotly, but in the end, we are there for each other.
As one of the fastest growing counties in the US over the last several years, it has given those of us oldtimers a chance to welcome new friends and provide them information it might take them years to learn otherwise. Missing children have been located. Missing dogs and cats can be found. Lost items located. Looking for a particular product? Someone can tell you where to find it. Cleaning out your garage? You can get rid of that stuff in a flash! People have had immediate help with broken down cars, or even with long distance travel should a family emergency happen.
We meet new people and a common question is "Are you on PCom?" If they are, they know what that means. lol! Then you want to know their PCom name. Deep, dark secret for some of us. Wide open knowledge for others. We have developed a new sense of family with the community spurred by PCom introductions.
Paulding.com has good and bad sides, but the good often outweighs the bad. If a story happens to be missing any information, or incorrect in any way, you can count on the community to correct it immediately. No waiting for the news crews or newspaper reporters to decide to provide a retraction.
Terrie Hall commented
I love paulding.com a lot of great information on the site, and great people.
Paulding.com has changed the face of "small town" politics in this county dramatically. Now everyone has a way of alerting a major portion of the county to issues that otherwise might never be heard. From advertising little known "special" elections to sponsoring debates, Paulding.com has been a great benefit to the county.
Scott H. commented
Paulding.com is definitely one of the most informative types of media that I have witnessed. Prior to moving here, I used Paulding.com as tool to get to know the community and the neighborhoods. Since moving in, Paulding.com has provided a way to network with the community and find reputable members of local commerce. It is really a phenomenon, and I hope every place that I reside has a tool just like PCom.
Paulding.com is our source of local news and events since the Atlanta media tend to ignore us.
Laurie Penney commented
Paulding.com provides a feeling of connection to residents, many of which work outside of the county..
It would seem that when people prioritize their lives that feeling connected to their community, friends and family ranks highly.
The Internet is an unsurpassed resource for,hyper local sites,that providef this.
They bring together people from all walks of life, educational background and demographics...
There is a huge huge impact on local businesses and politics. This is due to anyone with a computer and Internet being empowered to self publish.
In the past this has been a discretionary business under the control of "publishers".
Social networking is rapidly changing the world of communication, and will eventually change the world itself!