BANGOR, Maine —- Members of Bangor’s burgeoning social media scene gathered at the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business at Husson University Thursday for the third annual Social Media Breakfast Bangor Awards. The awards are given to those in the community who have made the greatest impact through their use of social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
The event was sponsored by Machias Savings Bank, Sephone Interactive Media and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
The Bangor Police Department was given the “0-60” award for the rapid rise in popularity of their Facebook page, which has taken on a more entertaining and relaxed method of delivering news and advisories to the people of Bangor. The Duck of Justice has been particularly popular among visitors to the page.
“The duck was a fluke really … At one point, one of the guys put the [Duck of Justice] into a photo and people started asking about it … From there it just kind of took off, it’s kind of odd really,” said Sgt. Tim Cotton, Public Information Officer for the Bangor Police Department. “I don’t want to just read police beat on a Facebook page, that’s just my personal opinion.”
Cotton, who took over social media duties for the department a few months ago, was on hand to accept the award in what was his first Social Media Breakfast experience.
“It’s interesting to see how businesses in the Bangor area are using social media to promote themselves. It’s a lot easier from the perspective of the police department because we’re not trying to make any money … For us it’s just [used] to show the human side of police work, but for some of the other people [at the breakfast] it’s about attracting business and it’s a really neat thing to see,” Cotton said.
Bangor-based Governor’s Restaurant won the “@” award, which is given to the person or business that has shown the greatest audience engagement. Jason Clay, director of marketing and IT for Governor’s, was on hand to accept the award that recognized the restaurant’s social media presence on Facebook.
Bangor City Council Chair Ben Sprague, a nominee for the “@” award, said he believes the Social Media Breakfast creates a sense of community.
“It’s a great way to meet people and learn a lot about what’s going on in the community. I’ve actually learned a lot of social media tips myself,” Sprague said. “I think the best thing a politician can do is not have all the answers, but ask the right questions and let people give the answers. Social media is the right tool for that.”
The Hashtagger Award, which goes to the person who has used social media to become a figurehead in their line of work, went to Tanya Emery, Bangor’s director of community and economic development.
Maine Memes was given the Faceplanking award for the website’s entertaining memes that bring to light funny sayings and problems that only Maine residents can appreciate.
The winner of the Instabacon award must show an affinity for incorporating video and photography into social media to keep audiences engaged. The award went to photographer Jeff Kirlin, who has regularly covered and photographed shows at the Bangor Waterfront as well as a host of other events, big and small.
The original Social Media Breakfast was held in Boston in 2007 and since has spread to nearly 50 cities nationwide, according to its Facebook page. The Social Media Breakfast Bangor was created to provide a friendly atmosphere in which members of the media, local businesses, municipal leaders and members of the community can mingle and share their ideas for how social media can be effectively used to benefit the Queen City.
Although the Bangor chapter is only one of three chapters in Maine (the others being the Central Maine and Maine chapters), it may be the only chapter to host an awards ceremony, according to Social Media Breakfast Bangor board member Justin Russell.
“We’re the only ones that do something like this, as far as I know,” Russell said. “Some chapters might recognize a business that stands out or something, but we’re the only ones with a formal recognition [ceremony] with awards.”
Russell is one of a group of avid social media users from Bangor who decided to bring the concept to the Queen City after attending a Social Media Breakfast for the Maine chapter in Portland. The first Social Media Breakfast Bangor was held in June 2011, with the first awards ceremony being held in 2012.
Yury Nabokov has been attending the breakfast since its inception and says he has gained a lot from his interactions and networking at the events. Nabokov is the Internet marketing manager for Machias Savings Bank in Bangor, which recently has been ranked 17th out of the top 50 Community Bank Leaders in Social Media in the country by the Independent Community Bankers of America.
“The most important thing is to keep in contact with your community, be relevant … These insights came from [the Social Media Breakfast],” Nabokov said.