It is a little ironic (don’t you think?) that I write this as I have been described many times as ‘Does not play well with others’. I was going to write that I prefer to play with myself than others but for obvious reasons I am not going to. When it comes to advertising and promotion though, it always pays to play nicely.
When this website was created, it was so that there would be a place online that was promoting St. Thomas, but also listing events that were being held by so many organizations. The reason why the website came about was that there was no sharing of information, far from it. If organization ‘A’ was having an event, unless you looked at their website, you wouldn’t have the details. There was very little cross promotion between these organizations. This is where we came in, because with no affiliation to any organization, business or charity, we don’t play favours, keep the information to ourselves or require you to only look at our website to discover what goes on in St. Thomas.
It isn’t always easy to get the information that we want to share. A lot of time and effort goes into searching the web, looking at websites, and trying to convince people that sharing is good. A number of times we have asked a group to email us when they have event information and the response has been ‘Well look on our website’ or ‘Well direct people to our website’ as if their website is the only place that can contain such information. Needless to say, I personally don’t believe that this website should be a directory for websites who don’t want to share and play nicely.
Allow me to explain with my poor math and even poorer language skills why people should share.
Group ‘ABC’ is having an event, its going to be amazing, fun, great but they are only going to post the details on their website, no where else. Let me point out at this point that the point of this rant is to point out about the online information, not what is printed in newspapers, put on billboards, or shouted from the hilltops. If you advertise only on your website, you limit the number of visitors to see this information. In fact, unless someone searches for the event, they may not even visit your website. If they don’t visit your website, and they are from out of town so they don’t see the billboards etc., they won’t know about the event at all.
Now Group ‘ZXY’ has a very similar event on a different date. It too is going to be amazing, fun, great, but rather than keep it to themselves, they choose to share it with The St. Thomas Blog elves. Instantly, or fairly quickly anyway, the information will be posted on the website, with a link back to the original webpage. It is also ‘pushed’ into Facebook, placed into a Google calendar that anyone can access, and generally hyped. Which event will have more people aware of it? It is obvious isn’t it.
It is, or rather it should be, that if you do a search for St. Thomas on your Google machine, it first brings up information for the island of St. Thomas. Yes, the island does have a higher population, and yes, it is sunny there, but lets face it, they have hurricanes as well!! Shouldn’t this be redressed so that our little city ranks up there too? How to do it? Have more content online. How do you get more content online? Write more, share more, tell more people. By keeping it all to yourself you will limit how much exposure you get.
I understand why a lot of groups want to keep their information close to their chest, after all it is their information, but they are doing themselves a dis-service by doing so. The blog doesn’t ask for payment to promote the event, unlike newspapers, and while some sort of reciprocal link on their blog would be nice, it isn’t mandatory. We are not trying to hijack or subvert anything in St. Thomas, far from it, we are trying to help, we saw a need and are attempting to fill it. It might not be perfect, there may be the odd spelling mistake, but we are trying very hard. All we are asking is for a little help from groups who would benefit from giving us the information.
Let me give you a little background on the people behind the elephant. We are a married couple with two small boys. We both work full time and run the blog in our spare time, coming up with ideas and improvements while in the shower, on the toilet and just before we fall asleep. I am not going to claim that we are stretched to the limit but if groups could just help out a little by sending us an email with the event details, it would help our lives go a little more smoothly and allow me at least to play with more Lego.
Allow me to give you an example of what happens when someone does help. The market manager of the Horton Farmers’ Market, Tricia Herbert, has her own blog where she writes her weekly newsletter (this weeks has even got a recipe in it!), but she graciously allows us to repost the newsletter as to allow it access to our numerous friends on facebook as well as on the website. As much as I love the market… pizzas, Thai and Indian foods, and of course turkey pepperettes every week, I wouldn’t have known about Tricia’s blog unless I did a search for more information about the market. Why would I need more information about something I try to attend each week? I don’t and therefore would have missed out on Tricia’s very enjoyable writing. I know I could never write something about the market anywhere near as well as Tricia, as she has the inside scoop which makes me feel as if I am more than just a regular customer.
Our dream is to allow this website to provide, promote, and offer up such treats as Trica’s writings to an audience that perhaps would not have looked for or found by themselves. In this age of instant information, we believe it is better to give you the information upfront rather than relying on you to have to search for, or perhaps not, the info yourself.
I guess the moral of this story or rant is, while I understand that you probably want to keep control of your event, and it is understandable, it is better to share so more people are aware of it. We don’t have time to visit your website every week just incase you have decide to add a new event. So if you are one of these people who have chosen not to share, sorry if we don’t feature your event soon enough, but it really isn’t our fault. We can only do what we have time to do.