Getting the Ouse Washes into the world of social media

Heritage Lottery FundThe Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme wishes to spread its information to more people by using a wide range of social media and other online media; however each of the online media has its pros and cons. I did some research to find out what other Landscape Partnerships have been doing at this front, to get some information and inspiration.

Currently the Ouse Washes LP scheme is using this blog and Twitter; these are also linked so that when adding a blog it sends a direct link onto our Twitter page and vice versa, thereby increasing our online activity and visibility. We will also have our own website, once the HLF gives us the ‘green light’ (and money) for the delivery phase, i.e., in spring 2014.

Online presence of other LP schemes

Looking at the online presence of all 66 current Landscape Partnership schemes (including the 13 which – like ourselves – are in the development phase; and those schemes which have already ended), it is clear that the vast majority of the schemes have a website, about half have a Twitter account, but only six other schemes have a blog.

Other online media options

However, there are a few more options which are also being exploited by some other schemes: these include Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Vimeo, all of which have different way of getting information out to the public. The potential value of YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Vimeo is in getting more people engaged with the OWLP scheme and increasing the awareness of the landscape and its heritage to a wider audience.

facebookHaving a Facebook page for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme would also have potential. However, there are fewer options to directly link its contents with Twitter and the blog. There are some other Landscape Partnership schemes which make use of have Facebook including the Up on the Downs Landscape Partnership and the Tag Landscape Partnership, but they often get few likes (‘followers’), much fewer followers than schemes seem to get through Twitter. So the Ouse Washes could perhaps start a Facebook page once the scheme is in its delivery phase, but it will take some time to gain a large number of likes through this online medium.

New Picture (3)vimeo YouTube and Vimeo are both video sharing websites; these two platforms could help to inform the community about different projects and how they are developing. One Landscape Partnership scheme which has recently finished is the Neroche Scheme which has made videos throughout their project and by the end of the scheme – after 5 years – they used the video to show how the journey unfolded; see here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkqsDUqw-Wk).youtube

When creating such videos there clearly needs to be a continued use of this throughout the whole of the project in order to tell the whole story; for instance, this method can be used as a diary to show how events and projects are developing. The two websites which can be used as an option for uploading videos are YouTube which have a wider number of people using it, or Vimeo which has better quality videos but a much smaller audience.

flikFlickr is a photo sharing website which is good way to show how the area changes over time through the seasons, the conservation activities and community involvement all clearly captured in images. This is being done quite nicely, for instance, by the Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, managed by the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/ccght.

What do you think we should do?

Each new online medium of course takes time to keep up; therefore we would like to make sure it is best ‘value for money’. For each of the above platforms we would like to be able to manage them and keep them up to date, and getting you involved in different ways. Each new online medium employed by the OWLP scheme will certainly also all be linked to the main website for the Ouse Washes once we can start our delivery.

We would like to have your option on what you think would be the best way for us for those media that we have not yet gone for, including Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr. Please leave suggestions for how you think we can best expand our online presence!

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6 thoughts on “Getting the Ouse Washes into the world of social media

  1. Amongst the above sites listed , you appear not to have included Shapeyourplace website.
    Videos, photographs along with blogs can be uploaded to this site, although not as global as the sites listed above, in my opinion Shapeyourplace , which covers most of the area of the project and could prove a very useful communication tool, features listed on SYP are sometimes picked up and used by the local press.

  2. Thanks Bill; we have indeed used Shapeyourplace a few time so far, for instance to promote the conference for the OWLP. We intend to use it more during the delivery phase of the scheme.

    • Thanks Bev, We are indeed thinking of using Flickr; however there are also other image-sharing platforms such as Pinterest. Does anyone have experience in using other photo sharing tools?

  3. Social Media is a really important communication tool and is a ‘must’ now for any landscape partnership scheme. What platforms to use and how to use them are questions that have to be asked, particularly as it all takes time and money.

    To me social media is at its best when it is a two way process otherwise it tends to be a process of sending out information into a black hole and never getting anything back in return!

    As with websites social media needs to be updated on a regular basis and people will tend to use it when they see a need for it and how it might help or be of interest to them.

    As mentioned by Bev, Flickr is well used and people could post their own images up on the site – the Ouse Washes Flickr site could also be incorporated into the Ouse Washes website as with my own site as this all helps to generate interest and community.

    Which ever platform you use the opportunity for video streaming will be important – perhaps for broadcasting messages from the project or board or for showing web stories of the wildlife or day to day life along the Ouse Washes – basicly short stories showing the heritage of the washes.

    An example of what could be achieved is this video on Rivers by the 2020VISION team http://vimeo.com/69735525

    Crowd funding through Spacehive is also a possibility – perhaps the first Spacehive project could be to raise funds for a series of videos on the Ouse Washes?

    • Thanks Pete for the suggestions. We are now thinking of starting to use Flickr soon, as an option to share photos to showcase the development of the different project throughout the Landscape Partnership scheme.
      Your suggestion of not using Social Media such as Facebook where you get limited feedback from visitors to the page is useful; so, we are not planning to make a Facebook page for the Partnership at this current time but will keep it in mind for possible future expansion, to allow for reaching out to a wider audience.
      We see the use of video as a way to promote and show the value of the area as an important activity to get more people engaged with the project within and around the Ouse Washes landscape. We aim to make videos throughout the delivery phase.
      Crowd funding is certainly a future possibility to improve the scheme’s videos and to get more people engaged in the Landscape Partnership scheme in general; we will be looking into this to see how it might benefit the different projects and also promote crowd funding as one of the ways local communities might be able to obtain additional funding.

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