Calera sees massive success with comedic approach to social media

Published 4:41 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

CALERA – What first began as participation during a public and media sensation regarding the second most recent escape of Esmerelda the emu has now evolved into a new and measurably successful approach for Calera’s social media presence.

Beginning in the week prior to the New Year’s holiday, Calera’s Facebook page uploaded a series of comedic posts relating to the community’s search for the resident emu. This would even include the appearance of an emu on the city’s Happy New Year’s post.

Upon the flightless bird’s second escape last week, Calera’s Facebook page, helmed by IT Director James Fuller, doubled down on the comedic angle and released a wanted poster for Esmerelda stylized like an old-west bounty poster.

That poster soon went viral and was featured as the headline image on most of the reports about the bird across the state. The comedic angle taken by the city’s account was instantly noticed by the community and received a massive positive reaction.

“We wanted to provide a lighthearted distraction from the challenges of the world,” Fuller said.

Rather than let the trend end at its peak, the city has since doubled down on the approach and has featured comedic bends on a number of public announcements, including an escaped chicken outside Calera Intermediate School, an upcoming ping pong tournament and announcements and conversation regarding winter weather.

“With all of the sad news and heavy burdens that people have in the world right now,” Fuller said. “We are setting out to create a fun and informative Facebook page that will bring a smile to our citizens’ faces and hopefully take their mind off of the stressors of the world for just a minute.”

Organizers of the page are adamant that while the public support of their use of humor is seeing success, it will not affect the page’s additional delivery of serious and important announcements as they occur.

“We have been totally blown away by the response of our citizens and people from all over the state,” Fuller said. “We’ve just hit 294,500 views for only the past two weeks.”

That online viewership, as Fuller pointed out, is roughly 16 times the size of the city of Calera’s total population and is a dramatic increase in reach and coverage from the city’s usual audience on social media.

“We have had so much fun coming up with new ideas for our Facebook posts, and I’ve been approached by our Mayor and some members of our City Council who say that they have received tons of positive feedback from our citizens,” Fuller said.

Due to the measurable success and increased reach of the city’s posts since the shift toward humor, it is expected that the comedic posts have only just begun.

“(We want to thank the community again for the) support and we look forward to many more posts to come,” Fuller said. “If you haven’t already, please follow our page for updates, both serious and comical.”