Joe
Eddie Joe Ferguson, Jr., Founder of Mitchell County Alerts

Hello and thanks for stopping by! My name is Eddie Joe Ferguson, Jr., and I am the founder and operator of Mitchell County Alerts, your online independent source of information and news for Mitchell County, North Carolina.

Let me take this opportunity to personally thank you for visiting the Mitchell County Alerts web page. Also, if you’ve “liked” Mitchell County Alerts on Facebook, thanks for helping make it successful!

I am proud of my success thus far with this page and I have no problem standing behind my hard work. I feel that it is important that the community knows who made the page possible and ensures it remains operational. In addition, I feel like the community should also know who publishes the information that appears on the page.

If you have any questions or concerns about Mitchell County Alerts or any of its content, or you just want to talk, feel free to call or text (828)-537-2411 or you can send me an email at Joe (at) MitchellAlerts.com. I will be glad to talk to you about anything that is on your mind!

So, who am I, and what made me decide to create Mitchell County Alerts?

I am a native of Mitchell County and have spent most of my life here. I obtained an Associate’s in Applied Science Degree in Computer Information Technology from Mayland Community College. My passion and lifelong dream has always been working in the information technology field. During my senior year of high school, I won second place in the knowledge of Technology Concepts during state competitions, which took place in Greensboro.

I’ve had the opportunity to work at various businesses in our local community, giving me the opportunity to learn how to provide stellar customer service and manage businesses. Due to the recession, IT-related job openings in our area have been scarce, requiring me to commute to work out of the area, but the back-and-forth commute began to quickly take its toll on me, and I knew it would behoove me to seek employment closer to home, even if it was an entry level part-time job.

Those of you that already know me know that, at one time, I posted certain “alerts”  directly to my personal profile, such as storm warnings issued by the National Weather Service, and information about major situations that were happening in our area along with updates that I gathered from radio chatter. After taking into consideration that a portion of my friends on Facebook are not from this area, they most likely found those posts irrelevant. Also, I was starting to receive friend requests from people I had never heard of. I felt my best course of action was to create a separate page that I would post that information to, and cease posting it on my personal profile. If my friends or others were interested in seeing that information, then they could like the new page.

And, just like that, Mitchell County Alerts was created! At first, I really didn’t know what kind of information I was going to post, or what information others would would want to see. I did want to provide brief information about the calls our first responders, law enforcement, and paramedics were being dispatched to, as I was always having my friends ask me if I knew where the fire trucks or police cruisers with activated lights and sirens were headed to and why they were going there. I also wanted to post the severe weather alerts like I had done on my personal profile. My intentions were to keep those interested in the loop about the calls being dispatched and weather forecasts.

As new people began to discover the page and like it, there was a lot of skepticism about the information I was posting. Some didn’t like the idea of the information posted on Facebook, while others were happy the information was being made available. Some people even thought the page was a parody and the posted alerts had been made up. It didn’t take long for those people to realize that there was truth to what was being posted. Because I wasn’t for sure how the community would initially respond to this information being made available in real-time through social media, I felt it was best to remain anonymous until I saw the response from the community.

As time passed, and as more people discovered the page and liked it, people within the community began to share their praises and satisfaction with us. Many people within the community were positively engaging with the page and contributing information to previously posted alerts, such as updates about the condition of the patients involved in medical calls, or provide pictures of vehicles involved in traffic accidents. For the first time ever, through social media, Mitchell County had a page where people could see what was happening in their community in real-time. Also, people from different circles were exchanging information with one another, where before, that was not possible.

When I initially created the page, I didn’t think many people would like it and I estimated that if I was lucky, the page would eventually reach 500 likes. I never in a million years figured it would reach well over 5,000 likes (and counting!) or have the high amount of engagement from the community like it has! Most of the posts made to the page reach around 2,000 people while some of the most popular posts have reached well over 10,000 people! I feel like numbers speak for themselves!

I am certainly proud of the growth and success of Mitchell County Alerts. I owe thanks to viewers like you. The success of this page would not have ever been possible without the support of its viewers. Without you and other viewers, there would be no purpose for me to continue posting information or operating this page.  

As expected, success didn’t come without a few bumps in the road along the way. As posts were made on the page, and people provided their concerns and feedback, adjustments were made to ensure everyone was satisfied with the information that was posted on Mitchell County Alerts,

What should we expect in the future for Mitchell County Alerts?

As I sat back and watched the page grow in amazement, and read the compliments and praises as they poured in, I began to realize just how important the page and its information was to the community. It also helped me realize the demand for online news about Mitchell County. Because of the high demand, I want Mitchell County Alerts to evolve into an online news page that will provide all news information about Mitchell County. Examples of news that is planned to be provided by Mitchell County Alerts is anniversaries, births, birthdays, commissioners meetings, court results, engagements, marriages, obituaries, and school sports, just to name a few.

I also want to create new delivery methods for alerts and news as they are posted to the page. One of the new delivery methods I would like to implement, which is the most requested, is the ability to receive text message alerts on mobile devices when new posts are made on the page. The text message that would be sent to the subscriber would contain a brief description of the post along with a URL pointing to the full post, just like the posts that are sent to to the Facebook page. Depending on the requirements to implement this feature, it may be offered as a “premium service” that subscribers may have to pay a small monthly fee to use. The fee charged to access this new feature would be passed down the company providing the text message gateway capabilities.

While I can’t tell you exactly what will happen in the future, I do hope that Mitchell County Alerts continues to evolve to meet the demands and needs of the people of Mitchell County and that it remains a fixture within the community for many, many years to come!