California Mid-State Fair buzz spreads by text, tweet

July 11, 2009 | By More

An old-fashioned event goes high-tech to deliver information

The methods of distributing information about the California Mid-State Fair have changed dramatically since the fair began in 1946, when everyday folks staffed wooden information booths. An announcer on a public address system came in the 1960s.Today, fair-goers’ cell phones are their newest link to fair details as officials delve into social networking Web sites and the iPhone.

Questions such as where to find the nearest bathroom or what time discount parking ends will be answered at the fairgrounds via cell phone by text messaging FAIR to 366948 or by viewing its Twitter and Facebook pages through cell phones with Internet access, as well as at home on the computer.

A team of three people, including a Cal Poly intern, will be onsite when the fair opens July 22 answering the cyberqueries directly via computer. For those who prefer traditional methods, the booths and announcer will still be present.

Fair officials also paid a Michigan media consultant about $3,000 to create an iPhone application — software for the iPhone — to list concert details and ticket information for those who download it.

A team of five students from an advanced marketing class at Cal Poly’s Agribusiness Department advised fair officials in the spring of such new methods. The students researched what other fairs have done, fifth-year student Tia Andrews said. She’ll also serve as a fair intern this summer to answer questions and manage the social networking pages.

Fair spokesman Tom Keffury said he thought of the iPhone application while he was getting a haircut in a barbershop, he said.

The Mid-State Fair’s Facebook page, which debuted in late April, had 1,823 fans as of Thursday. The Twitter page, created earlier this month, had nine followers. The iPhone application had more than 650 subscribers last month when it was created, Keffury said.

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Category: Pismo Beach California, Social Media Networking

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