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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10,000 and counting

Heritage Lottery FundA bit faster even than I expected, we reached 10,000 hits on our blog on Wednesday. The month-on-month increase in hits and followers shows that there is a need and thirst for the type of information the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership is providing.

I thought it might be a good moment to take stock: What have people actually been reading? Who are our readers? And are any patterns visible, helping us to improve the blog? First of all a few stats:

Hits

The below graph shows our gradual increase in hits – the dip at the end is only because we still got 8 days to go this month, so will very likely end up higher than last month.

Capture

Gradual increase in hits on the blog.

The average hits per month have also gone up – since the start of the development phase in December 2012 it has increased from 12 to 46 hits per day on average:

Average per day

Popular posts

Most popular posts all-time – ‘your top 10′:

1. Earith Bridge: modern and historic works to the structure

2. Hidden Heritage: Mepal Airfield

3. Conference Invitation

4. People and Legacy: our Vision for the Ouse Washes

5. ‘Ours was the Fen Country’

6. The Lost Fens

7. Audience Engagement and Access Improvements

8. High in the Sky: Heritage & Landscape photography from above

9. Tenders sought for Landscape Character Assessment

10. Distinctiveness: A Local Perspective

10. Ouse Washes Roads Flooded once more (equal number of hits as the previous)

Judging from the above, we may perhaps conclude that people are primarily interested in:

  • Local ‘issues’: flooding; bridge repairs
  • Local, hidden heritage: Mepal Airfield
  • Local landscape character: Landscape Character Assessment; Distinctiveness; kite aerial photography
  • Community & development phase work: Audience & Access Planning; Vision; Conference
  • Cultural heritage – The Lost Fens; Ours was the Fens country

Our audience

The most surprising bit is perhaps the information as to where people come from. People who have looked at the blog come from an amazing 53 different countries across the world:

where from

The vast majority, 94%, of our visitors come from the United Kingdom, with frequent visitors also from The Netherlands; United States; France; Australia; Canada; Portugal; and the Russian Federation.

What do you make of it?

As part of the delivery phase, starting in April 2014, we will also have a dedicated website – the blog will nevertheless continue to be used throughout the next 3 years, to interact with our audience; that’s you. We are keen to hear from you if you think there are ways we could improve on the blog.

Development Phase has commenced

Following the successful stage 1 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the next important step for the Landscape Partnership Scheme has now started: the Development Phase.

Flooded A1101 Wash Road near Welney

Flooded A1101 Wash Road near Welney, taken last week

With development funding of £90,500 in place, Cambridgeshire ACRE will now lead on the preparation of the stage 2 bid, which is scheduled for late 2013. As part of this, the 26 proposed projects will be worked out in more detail, resulting in clear plans for landscape conservation, participation, learning and access opportunities. A detailed Landscape Conservation Action Plan will also be prepared. All of this will be done in close cooperation with a large number of partner organisations.

In order to coordinate the various workstreams, Cambridgeshire Acre has just appointed a Programme Manager. And that’s me; my name is Mark Nokkert. My aim is to regularly write posts on this blog to keep you up-to-date of progress, and to invite partners to contribute with posts to share their expertise and experiences.

As part of the Delivery Phase (2014-2016), a specific website will also be developed. Until then, this blog will be the main source of information. So, if you would like to be kept up-to-date and you have not already done so, please subscribe to this blog (press ‘Follow’ on the right). Please also forward this to anyone else who might be interested.

Ouse Washes LPS Programme Manager at Welney

Ouse Washes LPS Programme Manager at Welney

Welcome

Welcome to the new blog for the Ouse Washes: Gateway to the Fens Landscape Partnership Scheme.

We’ve set this blog up so that anyone associated with or interested in the Scheme can keep up to date with its progress as we develop it from a raw idea into a fully thought-out application ready for submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund in February 2012.

We hope you will take the opportunity to visit the other pages on this site which will tell you about why we think the Ouse Washes deserve to be conserved, celebrated and made more accessible both to people who live locally and visitors to the area.

If you have any thoughts on this site or on the Landscape Partnership Scheme itself then please feel free to reply or comment on posts. We’d be delighted to hear from you and will endeavour to use feedback provided to improve this site or to feed into our application development work.