Using Social Media for community engagement doesn’t come naturally to everyone, even in the areas of society we don’t think of as being digitally excluded. Experience shows that when introduced to it in fun, relaxed environment, involving things we do as communities, like arts, music, sports – it soon becomes clear how much value it can add (value = more social engagement = more fun.) We are working with a number of existing communities on pilot projects introducing social media and digital engagement into their daily life. This is one of those examples.
Existing community – Facebook page
Passing Clouds is a young arts centre in vibrant Dalston. Besides regular live music events with a decidedly latin/afro flavour, it offers arts/food/yoga/ etc workshops led by various members of the community, and in the 2 years of its existence, has built up a loyal followership.
Nights at the Passing Clouds are known for being warm and decidedly different. Going to hear an African band and thinking you have nothing to wear? Fear not, you can get dressed up in tribal threads upstairs. Not enough dancing? Don’t worry, they have Afrobeat all-nighters with one of the original band members of Fela Kuti, the inventor of Afrobeat. The usual club nights getting too pretentious and boring? Come to a jam night where you can take part in what’s being created.
The Passing Clouds crew led by Eleanor Wilson also takes part in music festivals around the country, engaging youths and children in collecting and recycling rubbish into works of art.
Online presence – a Social Media Aggregator Community Website
Our idea for the Passing Clouds online presence is to simply take their offline activities and reflect them online, using free and very cheap open-source tools available online, (build a custom-made “social media aggregator”) with the aims to
– strengthen existing relationships and build new ones within the community
– teach about the use of open-source tech in community building
– peer-to-peer education about community engagement
– form a strong centre of people able to use these technologies and a physical space close to the Passing Clouds to share these skills with other communities
– Introduce members of the community to open source tech, social media skills
– support and publicise the activities of the Centre
– help artists to learn about using Social Media and open source tech in their work and thus encourage their fans to learn