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A Beautiful Virtual Community…

January 6, 2011
Building a Community

Building a Community

We’ve been absolute converts to Twitter over the the past 18 months or so. Not so much Facebook. I can see its obvious benefits but I just find it a bit wieldy. I don’t really get the whole competitive element of “how many people can I get to like me?” Especially when the vast majority of these people you wouldn’t know if you fell over them.  I’m also not very keen on the fact that kids can become part of your Facebook profile. As a teacher, I’ve recognised a whole host of kids I’ve taught who are “fans” of certain accounts. It’s a difficult beast to regulate. We do run a Facebook account because it’s another way of spreading the word about what our independent businesses are doing etc, but I don’t actively seek “fans”. They’ll find us if they like us.

However, I’ve found Twitter to be entirely different. Now, I know it’s all horses for courses and some people would hotly dispute the Facebook/Twitter scenario. I also know there are people who are way more proficient users of social media than me. But I’m not at all interested in the geeky side of it. As long as I can do what I need to do, then that’s fine. One day when I’m not juggling two full time jobs, I may look into the mechanics of it all a bit more closely, but for the time being I’m happy with what I know.

Tweet Tweet

Tweet Tweet

And what I know is that Twitter is helping to create lots of very lovely communities. You see it happening as the feed updates. People chatting, re-tweeting, commenting. We’ve seen real evidence of it here at Didsbury Life. If you’d told me, two years ago, a good proportion of our new friends had come from on-line communicating, I’d have laughed at you. I’m not laughing now though, because we’ve made some amazing friends, who are no longer virtual. They’re real. We’ve shared meals, laughs, drinks, tears, hard times, brilliant times, new experiences. They’ve seen us happy, sad, tired, over-worked, exuberant. We’ve met businesses who’ve come to us through Didsbury Life and now are friends – not colleagues or acquaintances. Friends.

We have an amazing network of people we can rely on and trust unequivocally. It usually takes years to build up these levels of trust, but our tight, growing circle, is proof that social media is taking building communities to a whole new level.

Each Friday we watch the #Follow Friday phenomenon. A great way of recommending people to follow – but do you know what? We’re working on our business and so I just can’t spend the time sending out multiple tweets, suggesting #FFs. If we follow you, we like. We like what you have to say. And not just on a Friday.

It’s also very interesting discovering who’s unfollowed you. A fair proportion seem to be people/organisations we’ve never heard of, and not following back seems to prompt a quick unfollow. That’s fine. Some people unfollow because they clearly take offence at what you say. I made reference to Everton in one tweet – and had a message from  a follower telling me that as a result of that tweet I’d lost “a lot of followers”. We lost him. Suffice to say, I didn’t lose a lot of sleep over that one.

Sometimes we block followers. Followers who just repeat the same tweet ad nauseum. Followers who are from the other side of the globe. Unless we know them personally, they’ll go, because with the greatest of respect, they’re probably not going to engage very regularly with Didsbury businesses or really be interested in what we have to say. I don’t feel comfortable when I block someone, but again, I guess they’ll get over it pretty quickly and be onto the next person to follow.

So back to our growing community – if you want to check out some of the most lovely people, currently “tweeting”, then check out who we follow. Who needs a #FollowFriday to endorse good people?

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