Hi. I’m Theo Jones. I’ve been leading the Caravanserai’s social media, events, marketing and communication for the last 3 months and tomorrow is my last day working on the project. I’m a student and have a background in Architecture having studied before – I will be continuing my studies at Oxford Brookes in September. However I have never been involved in a project like this before.
Why is this so different for my previous experience? Because it’s REAL. It’s physical. It effects people and their lives, it has a large political and social impact, or as some people say, this is a LIVE project.
Aside from man power, time and money the biggest struggle with a project like this is getting the critical mass required to make it work. How do we engage with the local community and the wider area to help us make this work? From the very start of the project we have focused on the ‘event’. I believe strongly these need to be regular and are crucial for the success of the Caravanserai – people need a reason to go. Events are a time for (aside from seeing whatever attraction might be on) experiencing the site, meeting the people and seeing how they can fit in or how they can benefit from the site.
It was a great experience to help devise, develop, organise and run some of these events during my time at the Caravanserai, from the very successful ‘Dragons’ Kiosk’competition to more traditional ‘Opening of the South Gate’.
But how do we get people to turn up? This is where social media plays a large role. Through the use of a few tools and plenty of time you can build up an eager following on Twitter andFacebook. By following like minded people who would likely have an interest in the project you start making an impact. With daily tweeting and always replying you create a personality that people will like. When people like you they ‘retweet’ you, ‘like’ your photos and help promote your events to their friends.
I have worn a many hats on this project but it’s in this area that I think I’ve made a real effect for the long term success of the project. It’s been an honour to have been involved.