Tell the story

November 19, 2009

Annie Claydon RIP

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 3:23 pm

Yesterday I wrote about octogenerian Annie Claydon and her ever shrinking world.

Actually Annie Claydon was my nan many moons ago. She scrubbed floors for rich folk on Lillie Road in Fulham and laughed at bawdy gags in music halls on her weekends off.  She saw out two world wars, the fall of the British empire, interplanetary exploration, and eventually passed out of this world the day the Clash released Tommy Gun.

Her final years were housebound and spent in virtual silence, apart from a tiny black and white TV and a pre-war wireless with large control knobs that kept falling off. She had an air-raid shelter in the garden that was a time capsule to 1944. We lived abroad, so seldom got to see her. She had no phone, so we never spoke. And then she died. RIP.

It was her story that I was trying to capture when I wrote about keeping older people in touch with the wider community.

We’re currently doing a community building project in Stockport and are working closely with Age Concern to map out the community for older people’s services. We will then put in a community manager who will help drive the content. And that, I think, is key to building online communities.

The build-it-and-they-will-come models simply don’t work. It’s a bit like finding an old friend on facebook. You trade history together for a few days, then lapse back into silence.

The ideal model for online communities is going out there and making people talk about their lives. People like hearing what other people have to say. And it’s not through the 2 dimensional written blogs; what about videos? Get them working. Get people talking. We’ll all get connected.

Have a look . It’s a community site focused on home education in America. If you delve into it you’ll find blogs within blogs. It’s a simple idea created in wordpress that works well for a group of like-minded souls. Now translate this into a more interactive version for older people in a small community. Just a few uploaded video blogs would then bring all of us into their world. Simple but effective.



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