Friday 24 May 2013

Margate's #CelebrateTheSteps - It started with a Tweet

photo by Peter Davis

Last Saturday saw the coming-together of over 100 people to celebrate the opening of the £5.2 million sea defence steps on Margate's seafront, which are now finished and were completed under budget.

It all started with a single Tweet 5 days before: "Shall we organise our own opening ceremony for the sea defence steps next Saturday? Who's in for a quick celebration? #celebratethesteps

The power of social media combined with the town's positivity towards its newest addition, leading to locals being invited via Facebook pages belonging to local businesses and interest groups. The momentum and positivity grew rapidly from a discussion online to a real-life gathering. Further Tweets followed, with people "#celebratethesteps Tomorrow at 3pm. Let's do something great for #Margate together."

The call for a 'people's celebration' of the steps after the official opening by council workers the week before led to this gathering to express gratitude for what many see as a great new focal point for Margate.

At 2.50pm, local business owners put scribbled notes onto their doors letting customers know they were closing for 20 minutes and headed to the seafront.

Photo by Clive Sax
The sun shone as Julian Newick, landlord of Margate's Lifeboat Ale and Cider House, lead the countdown from 10 to welcome in the steps. As if by divine intervention, a fleet of 10 jet skis zoomed by as the gathering of locals with their children, dogs, picnics, balloons and bubbles, cheered and the sun beamed down. A positive day for Margate.

Photo by Clive Sax
The event reached 1,180 people on the Facebook event page where people are still posting pictures. 
Photo by Clive Sax

The Twitter stats are even more amazing:
Over just 5 days, 12,779 accounts reached and 28,134 impressions. Margate's Tweeps are a notable bunch of people as the now monthly  #TweetMeet organised by the lovely @lorrainecfoster has shown.

This event was promoted entirely by social media, it didn't receive coverage in print media ahead of the event taking place.

If you want to follow the tweets and posts about the event, it's been preserved on Storify for posterity. There is a shared online photo album of the event where people have been adding their pictures from the event:

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