Here’s why @Brays_Cottage is my @VisitEngland #ETW12 Tourism Superstar – #NaNTwiNk Please RT

Dear Readers – your chance to WIN tickets to the new HARRY POTTER studios near London…

As part of English Tourism Week 2012, #ETW12, @VisitEngland is looking for the nation’s Tourism Superstar – you can get more details here. Entries (of no more than 50 words) must be in by 27 Feb (see my note below about the email address – now corrected – thanks @VisitEnglandBiz) – and one lucky entrant will win a pair of tickets to the UK’s newest attraction: The Making of Harry Potter – at Warner Bros. studios London, which open on March 31.

Here’s my submission on why Sarah Pettegree is my Tourism Superstar for #ETW12:

“Norfolk’s Tourism Superstar has to be Sarah Pettegree, founder of Brays Cottage Pies and the monthly Norfolk Diet Farmers’ Market in Norwich. Using Twitter, Facebook and her fascinating blog, she combines humour, passion and expert knowledge to promote the best of Norfolk, particularly its excellent artisan food and drink producers.”

Will the winner be from Norfolk?
You are obviously welcome to nominate your own choice – but if the Norfolk and Norwich Twitter Network #NaNTwiNk really pulls together, we might just ensure a local winner. Now I think such a result would really help boost tourism to our home county.

So please follow the link above and get your entry in today. If you are stuck for words, please feel free to use mine – or amend them as you want.

Your feedback is welcome
Remember to tweet your nomination – either by linking to this blog or your own – and if you are supporting @Brays_Cottage please include the #NaNTwiNk hashtag so other members of the network can find it and RT.

What do you think – is this a good idea? Please share your thoughts (and alternative nominations) here.

Thank you and best wishes

Huw

#NaNTwiNk – are you a member? Read this to find out.

Grumpy Twitter Purist: “What’s this – another silly hashtag to clutter my timeline?”

H: “Well is you feel like that – but you don’t have to follow. We are all free to choose how we use twitter.”

Grumpy (but feeling guilty): “OK – so it’s an acronym – for what?

H: “Norfolk and Norwich Twitter Network.

G: “And what’s that?”

H: “A name I came up with to describe all the wonderful people I follow (like you – *flattery*) who support Norwich and Norfolk in their tweets.”

G – but emollient: “OK – who can join? Do I have to live in Norfolk? And what are my duties?”

H: “Anyone can join. In fact, you have already joined (you RT’d something about an event in Norwich) – let’s call it auto-enrolment. You don’t have to live in Norfolk either (but it helps…Why would you want to live anywhere else?).  No real duties – but it would be great if you could use your social media network to continue supporting cultural life in Norfolk and Norwich.”

G: “Why?”

H: “Well – for a start it will probably make you feel better – it gives you a sense of belonging and doing something useful to help others. It also brings people together – that makes us stronger as a society. Isn’t that why we use social networks?

“It is also a great way of promoting Norfolk and Norwich to the outside world – it shows that we have a vibrant community and take pride in it. That in turn will help persuade people to #VisitNorfolk  and #VisitNorfolk for holidays, which is good for the tourism industry and for the wider economy (think of all those people employed in restaurants, petrol stations, art galleries, hotels – all needing services such as advertising, laundry, baking).

It might also persuade more people to set up businesses in the county. There is some evidence that companies are attracted to communities with strong cultural amenities (call it ‘The Opera Effect’ http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2011/11/opera-house-effect/586/)

G: “OK, OK – so can I advertise my business using #VisitNorfolk #VisitNorwich?”

H: “No. – (Well, yes but) I suggest you don’t. You see – the whole point of this is to support others. Say you run a tourist related business – you could just post tweets saying ‘Use me when you #VisitNorfolk’ – but I guarantee you that most people will regard this as boasting (or puffery to use the PR term). It’s counter productive – it doesn’t engage your audience.”

G: “Go on.”

H: “Here’s a suggestion: to convince people that you are an authority on the local area – tweet about what’s going on in that area. Tweet about fêtes, concerts, county shows, local shops, good pubs, beautiful walks, fun things for families to do – and so on. People will follow you because you are a source of information – and, if your twitter profile is good, they will find out all they need to know about your service, when they need it.”

G: “OK – so I use #VisitNorfolk and #VisitNorwich in my tweets when I want to promote someone else’s event or service?”

H: “Exactly – and there’s more. You see, like many people, I have saved various search terms – including #VisitNorfolk #VisitNorwich – and I check them regularly to see if anyone has used them for interesting tweets. If they have – I retweet them.

“So using recognised hashtags helps people who are interested in the same thing find your tweets – and share them. That increases (amplifies) your reach, your influence – and that gets you more followers”

G: “So how to I let people know I have joined #NaNTwiNk?”

H: “Ah – that’s the fun part – you can tweet about it – either simply tweet ‘I’ve joined #NaNTwiNk and so can you…’ – and include a link to this blog – or, if you prefer you can tweet ‘I’m in the pink, I’m in #NaNTwiNk – and here’s the link…’ (but you might think that too silly for words).”

G: “Something like that. And what about the name – that also sounds very silly. As others have said – Nan Twink – is she some friendly granny?”

H: “I know – but NATO sounds pretty silly (rhymes with potato) but it still works – at least you won’t forget #NanTwink will you – and what’s so wrong with a bit of silliness now and then?”

G: “Fair point – goodnight.”

H: “Thank you – goodnight too.”

Why #tribes are not right for me but may be good for you.

This may be self-indulgent but I have just posted the following thoughts about tribal tweeting on @SeanEClark’s blog and wanted to share them on here too.

Further to various tweets with newsmary and Sean Clark I have now come to the conclusion that #tribes are not for me. That’s not to say they are a bad thing – in fact I can see them being very useful for some groups. However, I think they will work best when they reflect off-line tribes with shared values, interests and a common agenda. I am not convinced they are right for independent minded writers, who by nature don’t like to be pigeon-holed.

As mentioned previously (see replies here – and here) I think being in a tribe would constrain my freedom of expression. However, there is also the problem of the auto-RT. I know these can be switched off but as Sean explained (in his reply to me), part of the attraction of tribes is that they can get really big – and manual reviewing would slow down the process of dissemination. It could also lead to tribe members indulging in favouritism – and I guess potential free-loading (getting lots of RTs but sending very few).

In my tweets with Mary, I explained that I prefer to only RT what I have read, understood and (crucially) found either useful or interesting. The value of the RT lies in the selection – the process of winnowing.

I have just seen an auto-RT go out under my name from another tribe member. It’s not a bad post but it’s not the sort of post I would normally RT – as such the auto-RT has little real value and only serves to devalue my manual RTs (not that I am under any illusions about that value – but what value there is lies in my choice). That tension between the needs of the tribe and the views of individual can only get worse as the tribe grows.

So, apologies Sean – I don’t think tribes are for me – or me for tribes. A freelancer, sole-trader, island dweller (sometimes hermit) I will remain. I wish you and your tribe well but would ask you to set me free. In return I will happily buy you lunch at the World’s End (an aptly named pub for this recluse).

Kind regards

Huw

PS: Yes I know “me for tribes” ain’t grammatical but this is my blog – so I writes as I please (you have to pay for perfection).

PPS: Don’t let me put you off #tribes – read Sean’s blogs – make up your own mind – you might well find value in such collective enterprises – as I said in another reply ” Rome grew mighty on its conformity: individuals rarely build empires” – a theme I am happy to say Sean has picked up in a subsequent blog – read it and decide. Best wishes – H.