By Jamie Butow
Today's column should have one of those little "burst" graphics on it with the word "New!" in big letters. We've added a few things to our social media portfolio recently so, without further delay, here's what's new on the Bakersfield.com Network:
If you're a smartphone user, chances are you've heard of Instagram -- that photo-sharing app for iPhone and Android users that allows you to snap photos, add a quirky filter and share across multiple social networks in just a few steps.
It's become immensely popular -- so much so that we asked readers to tag their Instagram photos from the Kern County Fair with the #KCFair hashtag. We pulled those photos to Bakersfield.com to share with everyone and saw more than 270 photos come through over the fair's 11-day run.
You can now follow us on Instagram @BakersfieldCali (Instagram.com/BakersfieldCali). As we go along, you'll see photos from all our products, including The Californian and Bakersfield Life Magazine.
And because we love to see your Instagram photos, we have a new hashtag for you to use.
Starting now, tag all your weekend event photos with the #KCThanksgiving hashtag and look for them on Bakersfield.com.
Show us your favorite food dishes, your family gatherings, football in the park, Black Friday lines and Black Friday loot. Show us how you prepare your leftovers or the mess in the kitchen as you prepare the big meal.
Setting up your Christmas decorations? Show us the giant knot your lights are in, or your tree all decorated.
All you have to do is post them to your own Instagram account and include the #KCThanksgiving hashtag, and your public photos will appear on Bakersfield.com.
OK, I'll admit, this is SO new, there may not even be anything posted if you look too early this morning.
Pinterest recently launched business accounts. We've been waiting for this, and the capability is more than a personal account allows, so there we are.
Find us at Pinterest.com/bakersfieldcali.
We'll have boards for each of our products as well as special sections and special events.
I'm not kidding when I say it's really new. I just set it up on Friday and am in the process of getting our folks access. But I love pinning, so look for it to grow!
Education on Facebook
If you work in education, or have children enrolled in Kern County Schools, you likely have an interest in what's happening in education.
With Proposition 30 being one of the most talked-about initiatives in the recent election, we know our readers have lots to say on the issue.
Knowing that, education reporter Courtenay Edelhart has a Facebook page where you can find education news and discuss issues in local education. You can also message her if you have a tip or story idea.
Like her page at Facebook.com/EducationReporterCourtenayEdelhart.
School House Zach on Facebook
Many of our readers have followed prep sports reporter Zach Ewing on Twitter (@zewing) for a while, but now Zach has a public Facebook page where sports fans can go to talk all things sports.
I predict it will be populated with 90 percent high school sports, and 10 percent University of Missouri sports.
You can like his page at facebook.com/zachewingtbc.
Social Media classes
I'll be teaching two classes at the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning at Bakersfield College in the spring: Social Media 101, and Social Media for Small Businesses and Organizations.
Social Media 101 is for someone familiar with computers and email but wants to learn to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites to keep in touch with friends and family.
We'll discuss each site, privacy and ethical issues, and you'll get to log in and try them for yourself in a computer lab.
Social Media for Small Businesses and Organizations is ideal for small business owners and people involved in clubs, groups and nonprofits.
You'll learn best practices for reaching and engaging your audience quickly. You will have the opportunity to try to refine social media marketing strategies for your group or business and to discuss the results with the class.
Registration opens on Jan. 6, 2013 online at http://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/levaninstitute.