May 22 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 15, 2013
Swaffham could become the first Norfolk town to hold a monthly session for people who meet in the virtual world of Twitter to get together in real life.
The social networking site, which allows people to send messages of up to 140 characters, helps hundreds of residents and businesses across the county exchange information, discuss ideas and form new relationships.
Since last June, the @NorfolkTweetup account has been helping to nudge these virtual relationships into the physical world by organising monthly venues in different towns or villages where Norfolk Twitter users can meet up in the flesh.
More than 30 people came to Strattons Hotel in Swaffham for the most successful tweetup yet on Tuesday, with many who have known each other online for months shaking hands and sitting down together for the first time.
Mel Harris, who helps run @NorfolkTweetup, said: “Norfolk is really spread out but you can be tweeting someone who lives 40 miles away and have a really good relationship with them.
“For a small business in Norfolk it works really well to get businesses to connect together. You often see people asking people questions or supporting people.”
Su Mose, who tweets under the name @waywardrose_uk, said she had used Twitter and Facebook to promote the weekly village market at Docking, helping to gain new visitors and secure its future.
Dozens of Swaffham businesses, councillors and residents use Twitter, making it one of Norfolk’s Twitter capitals.
Ian Sherwood, who represents the town on Breckland Council and has sent more than 7,000 messages using @CllrIanSherwood, said it has helped him engage voters, understand their views and explain his own positions.
He said: “Twitter is like being in a room full of people every day and you hear different views and opinions and I think it allows you to be more reflective. I have gone down roads and directions because people have planted the seed of an idea in my mind.”
Now Mr Sherwood, who holds the communications portfolio on Breckland Council’s cabinet, is organising monthly tweetups specifically for Swaffham tweeps, starting at Browns Kitchen in Mundford at 7pm on Thursday March 28.
However, even such a dedicated tweep can still see the value of more traditional forms of communication, and Mr Sherwood has printed out old-fashioned paper fliers to publicise the Swaffham events.