Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Reddit users love Norm

Tech-savvy: Echuca’s Norm Knopp loves keeping in touch through online connections.

RENEE THOMPSON April 10, 2014 4:10pm

A 97-year-old World War II veteran who uses Facebook and Reddit to connect online audiences to the past proved a hit at a conference last week.
The social media skills of Echuca’s Norm Knopp, perhaps best known locally for his involvement in lawn bowls and prize-winning woodwork, were highlighted in a presentation at the Museum and Art Galleries Conference in Warrnambool on Friday.
Shepparton resident Geoff Allemand, founder of the Facebook group Lost Echuca Moama, said he chose to speak about Mr Knopp’s increasing involvement with Lost Echuca Moama as part of his presentation about digitising images from history.
‘‘I tried to look at the most interesting posts and picked out a few good ones,’’ he said.
‘‘With Norm being 97 and his grandson getting him involved in Reddit, I thought that would be a good one to use.’’
Several attendees at the conference took to Twitter to talk about Mr Allemand’s presentation about Mr Knopp.
Mr Allemand said he first came across Mr Knopp after he put up apost asking if anyone remembered when the first electric light came on in Echuca in 1924.
‘‘I wasn’t expecting anyone to put their hand up, but Norm put up a post saying ‘I was there’,’’ he said.
Mr Knopp had been an active contributor to the page ever since, Mr Allemand said.
Mr Knopp is also active on Reddit, with the help of his grandson.
‘‘He’s had about 500 comments or questions about his time in the war (on Reddit),’’ Mr Allemand said.
Of particular interest to Reddit users was the wooden ink blotter Mr Knopp made while recovering from a war injury which was used to sign the instrument of surrender between Japan and Australia.
Mr Knopp’s involvement in Lost Echuca Moama and Reddit showed how social media could connect generations, Mr Allemand said.
‘‘It just shows the power of social media. It was a delightful thing to discover.’’
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