Can photo-blogging improve a community?
I went to a creative meeting last week and on the way home noticed there were no cars parked outside the Black Horse and took the opportunity to photograph it at night. Lots of pubs have closed down in the Black Country but this one is doing well because it’s run well.
Wednesbury and Darlaston
It’s not easy running a small business these days and so I hope this year to publicise the small businesses near where I live. I live in between Wednesbury and Darlaston in the Black Country. If you read my post yesterday you’ll know I’m trying to become an effective community blogger and photographer for both these towns. If you haven’t bothered reading the ‘about this site’ page I’ll tell you who I am anyway.
My name is Mike Maynard and I started this site just over four years ago since then I’ve become more serious about photography and I’ve got all the kit now including a professional Speedlight for indoor events. I’m not an expert, I constantly try to improve my writing, photography, social media skills and my knowledge of search engine optimisation, just to mention a few things. I’m also trying to define more clearly what I want to do with my life and the life of this website. I have been developing the role of community blogger and photographer and I enjoy taking photographs of events and of the local landscape.
Selling the Black Country
No, I’m not going to put the Black Country up for sale, not yet anyway. We do need to market it and make people aware that it has changed. It used to be smoky and dirty but all that has changed and it is beginning to look much greener and a more pleasant place to live. The images of industry and grime, at least on this website, have been replaced by images of nature reserves, parks and historic buildings. We need to sell the Black Country with images of prosperity not deprivation. We need to sell it first of all to the people who live here and persuade them to think local. Not just shopping local, but getting involved more in the community.
Both Wednesbury and Darlaston have art groups and there is a big interest in creative pursuits but they do need to be encouraged more. The local libraries, town halls and art galleries can play an important role in this. There are signs that this is already happening. I do get the impression that people do need to come out of the closet and create awareness of what is going on. I hope I can use the skills that I have to try to make that happen.
Social media is very useful for publicising events but it’s not as simple to use as many people imagine. You need to create a presence and create a positive image. My Facebook page is in competition with many more Facebook pages so I have to help people find the page and then encourage them to visit often and make the page worth visiting. I also have to gently steer the page fans to a call for action, which is clicking the link to this website. Social media skills are very important in promoting local business and I hope to boost the effectiveness of social media in promoting localization.
So I ask myself can photo-blogging improve the community? I think it can. This post will probably be around 600 words but there is another message contained in the images. The images say so much more about the community I live in.
If you would like to be part of this social experiment and even have your say about it, just follow this blog. You can follow by entering you email address in the space at the top of the sidebar or simply follow me on Twitter for updates. You can see more of my ideas and my efforts to photo-blog to success on my Facebook page.