Maria Longley, GiGL Records Officer
From its inception, Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) has been a partnership organisation. We have worked very hard to raise our profile among the organisations that use and contribute to local record centres. It is a wide partnership that allows for an efficient dissemination of biodiversity and geographical data across London and connects data providers with data users.
With this solid partnership behind us, GiGL has been exploring other ways of promoting the partnership and connecting with Londoners who may be non-traditional biological recorders. So, almost a year ago GiGL plunged into the world of social media and set up a Twitter account. Twitter is an online social networking site that allows users to share information and links as well as following what other interesting organisations or people might be doing.
Some of the ways we have used GiGL’s Twitter account have been to promote new projects we have done on behalf of the partnership, such as work on the All London Green Grid, London’s Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, or the iGiGL tool. We have connected with groups and individuals across London and solicited and received wildlife records from them. We have promoted wildlife recording events, such as BioBlitzes and insect ID courses run by partners, and we have generally tried to raise the profile of wildlife recording and GiGL to the denizens of Twitter.
This year’s London Wildlife Trust Staggering Gains survey for stag beetles was heavily promoted on Twitter by the Trust and they had a good engagement with Londoners on Twitter and a greater number of respondents than in the previous year. And recently, GiGL worked with the London team of RSPB and with London Wildlife Trust on a sparrow count survey where we coordinated some publicity for the survey on Twitter.
Having had a very positive experience with Twitter we are now exploring using other social media in our work on behalf of the partnership. We would like to harness some of the many pictures that are taken daily of wildlife and open spaces in London by starting a Flickr account to share photos, and we hope to incorporate more social facilities on the new GiGL website.
In the meantime, please follow us and let us know if we can help you on Twitter.