Today we are in Shrewsbury delivering a workshop for an array of people that work in museums, heritage and tourism from across Shropshire and the West Midlands. We’re running a session talking about the importance of building social capital and working hyperlocally. The day will be roughly structured as follows:
- Building Social Capital and making use of it – including time to reflect on how this relates to what you are trying to achieve.
- Working Hyperlocally, What does this mean and what does this look like? Your examples – are you already doing this? – Show us.
- Lunch/Social Media Surgery and Networked learning. A practical session with support from Podnosh and learning between yourselves – time to start exploring the tools and concepts we discussed this morning.
- Where next for you. Group discussion, based on the thing you’ve learnt in this mornings session and started to put together in this afternoons surgery, What is next for you?
Building Social Capital
Nick Booth talked about Social capital – your social capital is the group of people, or the community you build around your cause or organisation. These are the people you have invested time in and in return they are prepared to invest time in you to get things done/ make a difference / help you out.
Q. But is this bigger than our individual organisations? Social capital can work on a large scale – but also for individuals, and individual groups. Sharing information, being social and useful helps build your social capital and helps you make things better.
Q. But what about the groups what have already – if they are reluctant to use use the internet? It usually only take s one or two people to come on board for others to start seeing the benefits,
To make the best use of your social capital and to see it really work you have to build it in the first place – it’s just like any other relationships – the more effort you put into it, the more you’ll eventually get back out of it.
Hyperlocal is a really messy word to imply something niche and local – this could be a street, a neighbourhood or somewhere larger like a City. WV11.co.uk is a hyperlocal website that covers Wednesfield a neighbourhood in Wolverhampton, yet Connect Cannock is also a hyperlocal website that covers the entire town and the surrounding areas in Cannock, Staffordshire.
Museums, Tourism and Heritage organisations are also Hyperlocal – serving areas both big and small, but that are local and niche.
Steph Clarke talked about her Wednesfield Blog = one of the questions that was asked was around competition – if there are lots of people in an area all talking about that area isn’t that overkill? In short the answer was no. NO because the useful website will outshine the useless ones and on the other hand the more people talking about an issue/cause/place online the more varied and vibrant the conversation about that place will be.
Another question was asked about community and conversation, how long does it take to moderate and how is the community built? Going back to the points that were made about building social capital – in the beginning it took more time as we were building the trust and building the community, Now, on a day to day basis we can keep the facebook page up to date and moderated in around 20 mins a day because we don’t have to moderate conversation – the community help us by managing themselves. Posts to the main website can be scheduled.
A brief look at some of the tools discussed.
- Facebook: Pages vs Groups – one is more public than than the other.
- Twitter: start conversations, join in conversations, look for “local” hashtags ie #oswestry or #shropshirehour
- Tripadvisor – What are people saying about your venue or attraction?
- Foursquare – what tips are being left, gamify visits prizes for the mayor?
- Blogs – talk about what you are doing. Invite others to write for you
Here is a list of links and resources that were mentioned by attendees or discussed in sessions that would be useful to look at and share experience.
- Oswestry Borderlands Tourism – Facebook Page
- Bishops Castle Town Hall – Facebook Page
- Bishops Castle Heritage Resource Centre – Facebook Page
- Whitchuch Heritage Centre – Facebook Page
- Worcestershire Museum Development – Blog
- Volunteering England
- Bishops Castle Memories – Facebook Group
- Men From Off – local mens singing group
- Pentabus Theatre – Blog
- Shropshire Museums Forum