Seems like everyone is joining Facebook. Even Bloomsday.
Spokane’s Bloomsday race has more than 1,500 Facebook fans – fewer than the Beatles’ 1 million fans, but handily beating Boeing’s 254.
Bloomsday’s Facebook page reads like a memory book, or a log of who’s in and who’s out for the 33rd Lilac Bloomsday Run on Sunday.
So far, organizers – and fans – seem pleased with their new online option for discussing all that is Bloomsday.
“We’ve batted (new media) ideas around for a few years,” said Don Kardong, race director. Facebook offered the advantages of being easy to set up and “a good way to reach younger people,” he said.
Bloomsday organizers’ only concern was the potential for negative comments.
“But those things often self-police,” Kardong said. “So we are willing to take our chances. It’s also a great way to hear what people have to say.”
Jody Stirpe, 36, describes herself as an avid user of the social networking site.
“I figured everything else has a fan page, so I looked for it,” the Spokane resident said.
This will be Stirpe’s 18th Bloomsday and the first she’s running with her son, Jacob.
“In 1999, I ran most of it 5 months pregnant,” she said in her post. Her Bloomsday highlight: taking fifth place in her age group when she was 18.
She keeps coming back partly for “the feeling you get when you do this – everyone comes together,” Stirpe said in an interview this week. “It’s almost spiritual.”
Stirpe plans to take a small camera on the run and post her pictures as soon as she’s done.
Bloomsday’s Facebook fans include first-timers, veteran participants and people looking to hitch a ride to the race.
“Anyone driving up from the Bay Area this weekend,” Becky Bowler wrote. “I really want to go so thought I would at least throw it out there!”
“I am stoked. First year ever doing the race. Me and my boy are doing it together … first year in Spokane as well …,” Nicole Church wrote.
Jackie Kaminski Gleason had all the other fans on the Bloomsday page beat in terms of years of experience; this will be her 29th Bloomsday race.
Gleason missed the first few races only because she didn’t live in Spokane.
Through the years, she’s been able to track her life, for the most part, by what was happening when Bloomsday rolled around.
“I had a cast on my leg one year, but didn’t want to give up Bloomsday,” Gleason said. “I was a week away from getting the cast off. My friends painted it to match my shoe, and off I went.”
Once she walked Bloomsday eight months pregnant, she said. “I had a few contractions along the way but she (her daughter, now 25) didn’t arrive for four more weeks.”
Gleason can’t imagine sitting out Bloomsday or being without the shirt to wear to work Monday morning.
With favorable response to the race’s Facebook page, coordinators of the annual event say they plan to continue to use other media, too.
“We’ve also heard of races that use Twitter,” Kardong said.