Preparing for tonight’s social media surgery in Stockbridge

Posted on 07/02/2011 by


Tonight’s social media surgery in Stockbridge library is going to be a bit different to the ones we’ve held so far. Unlike Oxgangs and Wester Hailes, Stockbridge already has a fairly active online community.

There is a Stockbridge Facebook account with over 3,684 followers. Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council already has a website, and the chair of the community council, Nigel Bagshaw, is also on twitter.

Local interest group Friends of Inverleith Park also have their own website, and have recently started to use a Facebook page for their campaign to stop the council building a luxury housing development on a corner of the park.

This presents an interesting challenge for myself and for our social media surgeons, as we’ll need to think about ways in which we can add to the existing online landscape, rather simply coming into an area where there is little already there.

So how are we going to do it?

My initial thoughts would be to explain the different between a static website and a more dynamic site, like a blog or even a Facebook page. Static pages are good for finding out basic information – like contact details and background information on the local community council – but not very good for keeping people updated about the latest news and issues affecting the local community.

Without the right tools -such as RSS feeds, automated email updates, or a “follow” function – there’s no easy way for updates to flow to the people who have shown an interest in your organisation. You’ll have to work much harder later on to try to get their attention again.

But attracting followers and supporters for a campaign depends not just on people being sympathetic, but on things happening and changing. People want to get new information, to be kept updated, to follow a narrative. They want to interact, get involved, ask questions – and they should get a response. That general attitude of sociable “chattiness” is probably another thing to focus on.

These are perhaps some of the themes and skills we’ll need to be thinking about passing on tonight. But, as with our previous surgeries, please plan for the unexpected!

If you are coming as a surgeon, do take a look at some of the organisations who are going to be coming along, such as Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council and Friends of Inverleith Park.

We’re also expecting to see Rosie, the Carbon Reduction Officer from Out of the Blue Drill Hall coming along to get some advice about how they can promote their latest project, Tinker Tailor.

I thought it might also be worth thinking about how the Keep Stockbridge Local campaign might have benefitted from social media tools, and whether we have any advice for the “Save Inverleith Park” campaign. Fay Young, a blogger and journalist from Broughton, asked a pertinent question in this vein on the Edinbuzz Facebook site a few days ago;

Fay Young I would like to know how social media campaigns can build on the good fan base they collect…some gain a lot of support and then just seem to just fade away.

And if you’re coming as a patient, please have a think about how we might be able to help you tonight – and if you have any questions, please write them below. See you later!

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