This site – I Live in SE16, its sister Facebook page of the same name and the SE16 Hour on Twitter – are now six months old! We are really proud of what we have achieved so far and how many people have supported our efforts. The small group behind the scenes have been overwhelmed by the way you our readers, followers and likers have helped to make this the huge success it has become. When we set out six months ago we could hardly have hoped for over 1,000 followers on Twitter and more than 600 likes on Facebook!

Plover Way by Steve Cadman CC FlickrBut as this anniversary loomed up, we wanted to share with you all our motivation. Why do we spend this time each Tuesday hosting a conversation about SE16 on Twitter? Why do we research and write unique pieces about Surrey Quays and Canada Water, Rotherhithe and Bermondsey each week? Of course, we enjoy knowing more about where we all live and sharing our passion for the area. But we asked ourselves what we wanted to achieve beyond that. What is it all for?

We talked for a couple of hours and we concluded that we wanted to see results in three aspects:

  • That people shared our pride in Bermondsey, Canada Water, Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays and felt their loyalty and commitment to SE16 growing
  • That residents, local workers and visitors could find out more about what was on offer here – events, special offers, key facts – and so feel able to join in more easily
  • That people who visit SE16 get a warm welcome and go home to spread the word about the great place it is

This all came together around the word ‘local’ and we decided that we want to refresh the site – over the next month or so – and to start encouraging everyone to “think local”.

The Blue by secretlondon123 CC FlickrThink Local

We all know that loads of the money that come into SE16 in the form of wages, benefits, sales and so forth just heads straight out again when we spend our money in ways that don’t support the local economy. We all know that there are great little places to play or drink locally that certainly rival those twenty minutes down the tube line and give us more time for ourselves. The local area has loads of great entertainment, lots of open space, surprising heritage, fresh produce and fabulous restaurants. These – and the many others – are the assets we want to focus on and help us all make better use of them.

So we are starting to use a new device to promote the work. Each time we refer to a way local is better, we will use a #local hashtag. So when we are talking about the great food locally we may use #eatlocal or when we are focused on locally-owned and -run shops #shoplocal. We hope you will begin to use these tags yourself on Facebook or Twitter to encourage us all to ‘think local’ more often. Have a go, experiment and let’s see where this takes us!