Nearly two months ago I wrote about how one of my friends was going on a 390 mile walk to raise funds for his church, from Camberley in Surrey, to Lindisfarne in Northumberland. Well, Rev’d Bruce Nicole from St Michael’s, a.k.a the ‘Roving Rev’, has completed that trek, and used social media every step of the way. Each day he blogged, Tweeted, Facebooked, uploaded photos to Flickr, videos to YouTube, audioBoo’s and even started using Storify. Each day of his walk was a fascinating insight into the lives of everyday people he met, and the places he saw. Social media allowed him to capture all of that, and share it live. His own church could monitor his progress, and he could even be tracked on a live map. His walk wasn’t just about fund raising, it was about connecting with people in real life, and social media is very good at that.
Back at HQ, we used social media to contact press and radio stations along the route, and to hook him up with some interesting people along the way. Twitter in particular allows one to contact famous or influential people directly, which is wonderful when arranging things. I was often surprised by the positive responses we got.
So did ‘Roving Rev’ carry a camera, video and array of other devices? No, he used a HTC Desire HD running Android. He has shown that a large number of social networks may be covered using a single device – a smart phone. He did carry a dedicated GPS, and had a netbook for writing his blog in the evenings, but whilst on the road, his phone was the piece of social media kit.
If you are thinking of organising a charity event that takes place over a period of time, be it a walk, cycle, drive, or whatever, I recommend you take your smart phone, and start recording your experiences. People will then start to connect with you, and they might even follow you on social media too.
Setting up the infrastructure can be relatively quick (website, social media accounts and connecting them all together). Supporting someone is a full time role for a social media officer. After a month of research, tweeting, coaching and technical trouble shooting, I’m ready for my holidays! It’s been a great experience, and the walk raised over £5000 so was a great success.
You can re-live the ‘Roving Rev’ on his journey at http://www.stmikesopen4all.org.uk/