So recently I decided to start a Twitter campaign based upon my experiences with a local level crossing. I know this sounds a bit odd, but stay with me and I’ll explain the reasoning in a minute.
Since starting my job at Fresh Egg, I’ve been doing all the research that I possibly can into the way the internet works; why do links help websites rank more highly? What impact does Social Media have on traffic flows to a site? etc.
It is a process that I absolutely love, yet at the same time it is frustrating because I can learn something really cool, but five minutes later it is old news, (such is the speed at which the Internet community moves).
So, my research started me thinking about just how much of an impact I could have in my local community by setting up a Twitter account; not as a person, but as a fairly well known part of the community. The thought developed as I was sitting on a bus whilst going to work one morning last week, and once again I was delayed in my journey by a level crossing junction that has often been quoted by local people as being “The worst in the UK”.
That was the epiphany… What if my Twitter account was not someone but something?
With so many people being delayed and frustrated by this fairly inanimate object, surely there would be a portion of those people who had access to Twitter and might voice their opinions of the crossing, if I set up an account that they could follow and have an interaction with.
I set the account up immediately, (@WestWorthingXin) and tweeted out the message “Not many people like me, but I set up a twitter account any way. I’m West Worthing Crossing, and I’m the worst in the UK.”
I did a couple of humorous tweets during the course of the day, and lo and behold I started getting some interactions. Pretty soon I was up to almost fifty followers within about two hours. After six hours I had reached 100, and even the local newspaper had tweeted me asking for information about why I had set the account up so they could run a story in their online publication.
Wow. I was pretty stoked to have this much attention in such a short space of time, so I started thinking about what I wanted to achieve with this following.
I had attended a seminar in late December 2011 (which Fresh Egg hosted) in which Worthing’s own Twitter guru, Dan Thompson, spoke about how he had shot to national fame by using the platform to start the #riotcleanup back in August 2011. I was immensely inspired by his story, and his ethos of having ‘one simple idea that people will grab onto’.
So I decided to start my own hashtag campaign: #FixWestWorthing. The objective being to bring about a positive change to the way in which the crossing at West Worthing operates, in order that traffic congestion is eased, and the people of Worthing can get to where they need to be on time.
My story was published in the Brighton Argus online publication on Friday 10th February 2012, and recieved a few comments from local people. Needess to say I was quite proud of the achievement, and wanted to make sure that I continued to Tweet to my followers about the daily goings-on of the West Worthing Crossing.
The following of the account had grown rapidly, and was now 200 followers strong, with people re-tweeting my own tweets and spreading the word through their personal accounts.
On Monday 13th February 2012 I was even more stunned to find that the Telegraph had picked up on the twitter account, and had run a story on their online publication.
Things were now really picking up some momentum, and it was only five days since I had set up the account!
I have now been in contact with the local newspaper and a local radio station who both want to do interviews with me to get some more information on the Twitter campaign, and what I hope to achieve with it. I’m formulating some great ideas with my colleagues at Fresh Egg, who are amazingly supportive of what I’m doing, and provide an amazing insight into the power of social media.
Incidentally I have now set up a Facebook page for West Worthing Crossing, and am starting to get a bit of a fan base with that too.
I hope positive change can and will happen through what I am doing, and every day I tell myself that it is not a personal achievement, but something for the community that I live and work in to get stuck into and take ownership of.
If you want to change something, actions (and tweets), speak louder than words.