Featured n0ticeboard: DeesidePosted: August 28, 2012
Jonathan Sheppard runs the Deeside n0ticeboard which is part of the wider hyperlocal scene in the area. Karen Strunks finds out more.
Hi Jonathan, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I live quite literally on the on the Border between England and Wales, close to a village called Hawarden or Penarlâg in Welsh which is in Flintshire, famous for Emma, Lady Hamilton – Lord Nelson`s mistress, Prime Minister Gladstone, Michael Owen,and Hawarden Airport, which serves the huge Airbus factory,where they make the wings for the A380 super jumbo at neighboring Broughton site.
The village sits within the conurbation of Deeside, which as the name suggests, describes a group of small towns and villages sat alongside the river Dee. The demographic is quite diverse for north Wales, given the proximity to the English border. Around 14% of the of the community are Welsh speakers, and there is a really strong sense of community and belonging.
I currently work with tourism based businesses at a very “local” level, exploring ways to develop and embed social media within businesses for the greater good of the local economy; it’s really about developing a strong sense of place and provenance. I guess what sets me apart from ubiquitous “all in one digital agency or marketer” is that I specialise in the one area, tourism, in particularly independent hotels. It’s where I’ve spent 20 odd years working in various corporate managerial roles from hotel manager to regional management and national sales & marketing roles.
I had a yearning or a calling to “go it alone”. Actually, I grew terribly bored of corporate life, and wanted combine three passions of mine; hospitality, technology and media (not to be confused with social media!) and shape them into a small business. It’s hard work but hugely rewarding.
Prior to working in the hospitality industry I worked for the Daily Telegraph in Manchester, not because i had any particular skill, my father was a journalist and photographer for national newspapers, and 25 years ago newspaper succession planning usually revolved around the family “line”. For years, even when i was working in my full time roles, I was heavily involved with the family run sports and news media agency based in Stockport. You could say that media, in various formats, has been in the blood since the day I was born.
Why did you set up Deeside on n0tice, and who is involved in it?
I moved back to the area around two years ago and quickly became aware of the need for a community driven platform that dug a little deeper into the issues that are effecting all of us on a day-to-day basis. “Local” newspapers, while doing a fantastic job, are stretched to a point whereby relevant local news content seems to be shrinking, and its my view that they have become a little “hamstrung” when it comes to positivity challenging the county council`s decision makers.
The Deeside n0tice board is part of a wider hyperlocal project that I’ve started. It’s a collaboration with a small web design company and creative writer, the aim is to develop a destination site for the Deeside area that focuses on local news and sport, local Government issues, arts & culture & events, high street Regeneration, employment opportunities, digital inclusion, as well as assisting small business`s get online. The n0tice board was set up to support the wider project.
How does n0tice help support the work you are doing within your community?
Our wider project is split in to two distinct areas, one being real-time content, namely news, while pretty much everything else sits under “other”. This content, by design, is more static, so the original idea with n0tice was to test news content locally and see what the levels of engagement were around each story we posted. The ease of use and simplicity and baked in analytics has been ideal for this. We’ve had some really positive feedback about the news resource, even though we haven’t written any original stories, its been a case of curating what`s already out there from around 10-12 sources.
We are in the middle of what I would call a “natural pause” phase with n0tice at the moment, simply so we can develop our other social media assets in line with the wider project and of course develop the main hyperlocal site, going forward the aim then to do is embed the n0tice element into main blog, as well as use n0tice to crowd source our events page.
What are the three best things about Deeside?
Deeside is a bit of a misnomer in terms of a destination or location. It’s a collective of villages and small towns that all have their own unique identity of course, however there is so such opportunity to make a difference in the community on many levels. It makes this project really exciting. Also being just 45 minutes from Liverpool and around the same from Manchester while we have the wonderful city of Chester on our doorstep makes it a fantastic location to live as we get the best of both worlds.
We have easy access to bustling cities or beautiful countryside and the coast. There`s a great sense of community. Having lived in many places in the UK I was really conscious of how many times complete strangers greeted me with a friendly “good morning”, its n0ticable! If anybody from our community would like to get involved you can find me on twitter @6csocial
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