Social Media

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Great Ways to Engage Preservationists on Facebook

Posted on: October 9th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 


The High Line in New York City.

One of the things that can make jumping into social media daunting for preservationists -- well, anyone, really -- is figuring out what to share in order to create a lively, engaged community. Here are 10 ways that preservation-friendly groups are keeping the conversation going on Facebook.

1. Share pretty pictures. That saying about "a picture is worth a thousand words" is doubly true when it comes to Facebook, where even a small page can draw people in with a great photo. And while we might not have kittens, puppies, or babies to share on our preservation-themed pages (not usually, anyway) we do have gorgeous buildings, amazing historic photos, and charming ruins.  Like this one, for example.

2. Ask questions. Paired with a pretty picture (see #1), National Public Lands Day keeps their fans engaged even after their big event is over by asking them to weigh in on questions like "One of my favorite fall outdoor activities is ______ ."

3. Keep 'em guessing. On the Civil War Trust's page, they play "Name that Battlefield" by sharing a photo and asking their fans to identify where it came from.

4. Go trivial. The National Parks Conservation Foundation hosts "Trivia Tuesdays" where they encourage folks to visit their page on Pinterest to answer a trivia question about a National Parks site.

5. Take it on the road. I don't think the folks at Vintage Roadside go anywhere without their cameras -- their page is full of captured-in-the-moment roadside attractions (along with the occasional scanned old-timey photo). And the fact they're all mid-century eye candy doesn't hurt, either!

Tip: If you have an iPhone, add the pages manager app for easy access to your page when you're away from your desk.

6. Help people connect offline. Buffalo's Young Preservationists share links to a lot of local events to help build real-world community -- not just online camaraderie.

7. Ask your supporters to share. The California State Parks Foundation is asking people to share their "Defend What's Yours" photos on the foundation's page. This helps build awareness of the campaign while also giving fans a little face-time. And the High Line asks folks to share their photos when they have public events.

8. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! If your fans know you're a reliable source for all things historic or all things built environment (or both!) they'll keep coming back to your page. See the National Park Service's link to a story about their newest park, César E. Chávez National Monument.

9. Offer a simple action. On the Save Prentice Facebook page, a bold "Take Action" button brings fans right to a petition asking the Commission on Chicago Landmarks support landmarking the historic hospital.

10. Think outside the page.  A lot of  organizations default to gathering fans on a page, which makes it easy for that group/org to talk to everyone at once. But many projects actually work better if people are talking among themselves and bouncing ideas around -- just what Facebook's groups functionality was made for! Take it from the folks at Preservation-Ready Sites, a Buffalo-based group where many different people are driving the conversation.

What are your favorite ways to engage other preservationists on Facebook?

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JUST ADDED: Check out the slides that spotlight these great examples and share them with others interested in building the cause of preservation!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Save the Date: Twitter Chat on Preservation Lingo on October 3

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 

A Park Ranger addresses attendees of the National Rosenwald Schools Conference in June 2012.

Pretty much every person I know who works in preservation is extraordinarily passionate about their work, and will talk endlessly about the historic places that they've worked to save. But I have a feeling that when my colleagues and I talk to folks who love buildings in a more non-professional capacity, we sound a lot like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons: "Waah wah waaaah. Waaaah wah wah waaah?"

For a field that depends so heavily on partnerships with community members and local preservationists, we often rely on lingo that is fairly incomprehensible -- and can even be off-putting -- to a layperson. Why is this? And how can we do better?

With those questions in mind, we'll be tackling -- and trying to conquer -- preservation jargon in our next #builtheritage Twitter chat, on Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. If you're a regular participant in our chats, this would be a great time to ask a friend -- especially someone who loves historic places, but isn't a “preservation professional” -- to join you. The more perspectives we can get, the better!

How to participate:

1. Sign in to TwitterTweetDeck or TweetChat. We (the chat moderators) usually use TweetChat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows for easy replies and re-tweets.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

Oh, and what we mean by the Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and such still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

I hope you can join us!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Twitter Terms Explained, Preservation-Style

Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 

“I don’t read your tweets. Everything on Twitter looks like it’s written in some sort of code that only the cool kids understand.”

This statement, made not too long ago by my younger sister, is one I’ve heard echoed by many others, including many colleagues in preservation. Since I’ve spent a couple of weeks making lists of why social media is important to our work and how to find the time to do it, I thought a quick primer on Twitter might be a great next step.

Bonus: This is actually two lists of 10 wrapped into one. Each explanation comes with an example from a local preservationist or preservation organization that’s worth following on your own account!

1. Feed:  The main item you see when you’re logged into your Twitter account. The feed is made up of the latest tweets from the people you follow. The feed for @PresNation looks like this:

@PresNation Twitter Feed


2. Following:
The users whose tweets you have chosen to see. A good way to find new people or organizations is to look at who other preservationists are following; for example, check out who @FHLouisiana (Foundation for Historical Louisiana) tracks on Twitter. You don’t have to follow everyone, of course, but it’s a helpful way to discover like-minded folks.

3. Followers: The people who follow you. There is no requirement to follow everyone who follows you, but if someone looks interesting, by all means, follow them back! Here’s an example of a list of followers from our @PresNationLive account.

4. Tweet:  The message you send out. The maximum length is 140 characters, including links to websites or images. Twitter automatically shortens any link to 20 characters (no matter how long it is!) and you can upload photos from either the Twitter website or its mobile applications.


5. RT:
Short for retweet, which is the term used for sharing a tweet created by someone else. Retweets can be done two ways:

  • Using the retweet button, which sends the entire tweet in its original format to your followers.
  • Using the quote tweet option (alas, only available on mobile applications), which allows you to add a comment before or after before sending.

You may also see MT, rather than RT. This stands for modified tweet, and is used when editing someone else’s tweet: 

 6. @mention: Using someone’s Twitter handle in a tweet so it links back to their account.


7. @reply:
Replying to a person’s question/comment; others' @replies show up in your feed only if you follow both the sender and the receiver. If you'd like your @replies to be visible to all, add a period before the @.


8. #hashtag:
Using a “#” before a word makes it a clickable search term in Twitter. We often use #preservation, #savingplaces, #PresConf, and #builtheritage. If you’re planning a campaign that uses Twitter, such as #SavePrentice, it’s a great idea to come up with a hashtag in advance and do a quick search on Twitter to see if anyone else is using it.

If a hashtag or other term becomes wildly popular, it is said to be trending -- and appears in a box on your main page, to the left of the feed.

Additional note about hashtags: they are also often used to denote a side comment or sarcasm. So, if you see a hashtag like #nerdswithcameras, it’s not really meant to be a search term.

9. Direct message: Twitter’s non-public communication channel. It can be found via the envelope icon on most mobile apps or in the same drop-down menu as settings on the Twitter website. You can only send direct messages to people that follow you.

@PresNation direct message

10. Twitter chat/Tweet chat. A designated time for folks to discuss a topic, using a hashtag to gather all the conversation together. We host one monthly on the #builtheritage hashtag, and @JennWelborn, a public historian, has pulled together a list of other history-related chats on her blog.

Did I miss anything you find incomprehensible about Twitter? Let me know in the comments, and I'll follow up.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Twitter Chat Transcript: No More "White Elephants"

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern 2 Comments

 

I learned something interesting on last week's #builtheritage Twitter chat: So-called "white elephant" buildings are not just an issue for preservationists in the United States. Historic building advocates from Canada, the UK, and Turkey all actively participated in the conversation. Happily, everyone seemed to have as many great examples of saves as they did of buildings in need of saving.

While much of the chat centered around the planned questions, there was also an active side conversation on the language we use when we talk about hard-luck buildings, and how we might be able to do better just by changing the way we speak about them.

Case in point: Rather than call the buildings "white elephants" -- which places the blame for a building's state on the structure itself -- why not instead call them something like "buildings in need of creative solutions," which empowers a community to think differently about them.

Here are some highlights from the chat:

There were too many success stories share to include them all in the slide show above, so here are links to more of them:

And, of course, there's a full transcript available if you want the complete scoop.

Save the date: Our next chat will be Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 EDT. We’ll be chatting about window rehab with the Preservation Green Lab.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Save the Date: Twitter Chat on White Elephants is September 5

Posted on: August 30th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 


The Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, c. August 2008.

For the first 10-plus years I lived in Washington, DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood -- and for many years before I arrived -- one of our most notable landmarks, the Old Naval Hospital, sat vacant, a seemingly unfixable white elephant on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Various proposals bounced around over the years, including a brief period of time when it was in contention to be rehabbed as a mayoral mansion, but nothing really came together until a few years ago when a recommendation from the neighborhood-created Old Naval Hospital Foundation for a community center was approved. And at long last, the gorgeously (and green-ly) rehabbed Hill Center opened in late 2011.


The Hill Center, c. November 2011.

This is the kind of white elephant success story every person who has ever developed a crush on derelict building dreams of. But how to make it happen? Here in DC it took a coalition of concerned citizens organizing, but every story is different.

We'll take up this topic -- saving white elephants -- in our September #builtheritage chat on Twitter. We'll talk about how to rally community and financial support (for example: tax credits), creative ways to keep white elephants vibrant while awaiting a permanent use, and more. Please join us September 5 at 4:00 EDT. 

How to participate:

1. Sign in to Twitter, TweetDeck or TweetChat. We (the chat moderators) usually use TweetChat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows for easy replies and re-tweets.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

Oh, and what we mean by the Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and such still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

Hope you can join us -- it should be a terrific conversation!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.