So what is Telford-Live.com? Here is the original post from 2005 of how Telford Live came about:
Well there we were in the office, idly browsing a list of domains that had expired at http://www.Pool.com. You can try searching for domains that had certain phrases or keywords in them, so I tried ‘Telford’. I was suprised to get any results really, let alone telford-live.com. Telford live was a site I had often lurked around (nothing sinister y’understand!).
The design was very ‘homegrown’ and that had a certain appeal. The factory gossip was at best cringeworthy, at worst slanderous and at the very worst, worth 5 years inside. So there it was, on a dutch auction available to buy. A dutch auction has nothing to do with our continental cousins, but put simply, the price starts high and drops every hour until someone buys it or the auction expires. When I looked at it, there was just 20 hours left and on offer for a measly $10.00. (about £7). How could I resist. A piece of Telford history for the price of one and half Burger King Veggie Meals. That was last week.
Since then we have thrown a forum and stuff on the domain and got that working (cheers ChrisA!) put up the classified ads and all that malarky for everyone in Telford to enjoy. Everyone including Shaz . More about Shaz in a later article.
We also made our first big mistake by setting up an email account. A big thanks to the previous owner (Linden? Get in touch or join or something!) who offered the good people of Telford a telford-live email address of their very own. We soon realised that this would not be feasible for us to have any telford-live.com email addresses at all, since 1000 spam emails a day are not much fun to trawl through.
Please don’t email us at any telford-live.com email address, it doesn’t even get to us anymore. If you want to contact us, try firstname.lastname@example.org – we dip in there regularly. So here it is – please use it, flame me, spam your ebay auctions, advertise for ad placers (johnny foreigners only please) or just tell us what joy it is to have telford-live.com back up and running.
Since 2005 the internet landscape has changed somewhat. We were doing ‘Social Media’ here on Telford Live before the phrase was even coined. I still wince when I hear social media experts telling everyone about how to get more followers and friends, but thats another story!
The system Chris put together in 2005 worked brilliantly well for almost 5 years, but the development and security patches on the forum was woefully inadequate and I was spending most of my time clicking the delete button on spammers accounts and trying to recover data from a hacked database. Not much fun. With the rise of Twitter and Facebook now was the time for a complete overhaul. I looked at several platforms but settled on WordPress, or rather Buddypress which incorporated a forum and I set about a migration of user accounts (completed in the erstwhile surroundings of Donnington McDonalds). Buddypress is a good system and is packed to the rafters with twitteresque features and Facebooky bells and whistles. I saw this as a natural step for Telford Live to take, a step that had to be taken because of the issues on the original site. How wrong I was.
With the added functionality, came a raft of complexity. Not technically, but for the members getting to grips with a new style of social media. What’s interesting was that when the members were consulted over the changes, Buddypress seemed to fit the bill perfectly. After an initial flurry, it started to quieten down. Not quite a forum, not quite Facebook and a gazillion times more complex than twitter. A buggers muddle. It lost its way as the few members that could use it effectively seemed to drift to other Social Media sites as they grew in popularity (including me) and with fewer members posting, fewer members visited. Combined with a move of my business to Wellington which took my focus, Telford Live was dying on it’s arse. Well I say dying, there were about 6 or 7 contributors, Moonraker, Nick Jenkins, Wonko, and BigDaddyMerk among them, who posted good stuff, real conversations and debates. This was Telford-Live.com distilled to it’s core essence. Telford Live was about debate, discussion and this is tough to achieve on Twitter, and almost impossible on Facebook. This was and is the natural home of Telford-Live.com.
Twitter is all about now. What twitter doesn’t have is a decent searchable archive. If you wanted to find out what a restaurant in Telford was like, or view a conversation from 3 months ago, you can’t. This is where Telford-Live.com fits right in. In August 2011, the EDL came to Wellington. I stood (along with WorriedofWellington as it happens!) and tweeted what I saw. This was picked up by the Shropshire Star and some other national organisations, in 140 character sound bites. Perfect for twitter. People were asking questions and I was responding. I tried to find that twitter stream today. I have a few pics that wet with it too. Gone. I’d love to post that here but not sure I’ll be able to. I should have posted it to Telford Live so people can look back at it and see what a town boarded up looked like.
Facebook (and I’m going to offend some people now!) is easy. It’s on almost every mobile phone, and almost everyone has an account. I feel Facebook has peaked and no amount of tweaks is going to help. I have my twitter account linked to update Facebook so don’t visit that often. I’m happy that some of people I see on Facebook stay on facebook. I can see more and more people deleting their accounts in the coming couple of years, as long as they can get their pictures off.
The local forum. Telford-Live.com gives everyone a chance to see what’s going on in the Town. Completely a-political, we have no axe to grind, we’ll have a dig at both MP’s who happen to represent the town at any given time. We promote local businesses by passing on offers and examples of good service where we find them. We’ll support each other in times of need, give and take, buy and sell from each other, and one case (no names) even have relationships with each other! (no, not me and Wonko.). I’ve had some great fun running Telford Live and hope you have some fun lurking, joining, debating and taking part.
Well, here we are. Forum not so hot, but twitter going bonkers. Over 2500 Telford followers and I’m also following 2000+ Telford people. Time for another change, back to WordPress but more of a newsy site and one which could I could use a hand with!
We pulled out all the stops, then found some more stops and pulled them out too for our General Election coverage. I’m proud that we captured and shared the excitement & disappointment of the day. And a half. The Nedge is something that will live long in the memory of those that were there and thank you for all the help & encouragement for what we did.
Heading towards 10,000 followers now and following over 5,000. This helps me share local news and events, jobs and pleas for help. Also now I’ve kinda begrudgingly fell back in with Facebook and have about 3500 page likes. Looking at using video more via Periscope to bring events to you, not helped by an ‘Upgrade’ to a Samsung S6.
I’d also like to hear what would YOU like to see on Telford Live? Leave a comment below.
2020. Jeez. Fifteen years of my life doing this now. We’ve done everything from lost dogs to local elections, the building of Southwater to the blowing down of the cooling towers and pretty much everything in between.
The Facebook page is still growing at a pace. The comments are unmoderated, which you (and I) love, but makes the mainstream media wince. It’s one of the reasons they won’t let me have some of their content under the Local Democracy Reporting Program.
I’m not hugely bothered now, because the tale of the tape tells you who’s audience in growing and more importantly, who do the public choose to engage with.
Stay tuned, here’s to the next 15 years.