Anneli Ohvril, Communication Manager, Teeme Ära!

‘Teeme Ära!’ roughly translates as ‘Let’s do it!’ in English. It is a highly successful Estonian community-based project which in 2008 managed to mobilise 50,000 Estonians to give up some spare time on a single day to help clean up their forests. An estimated 10,000 tonnes of garbage was collected. Anneli uses Facebook in particular as her social channel of choice, but cautions that, in her experience, it’s over-rated as a communications medium. She confesses that, after three years in the job as communications manager, she’s getting tired of being asked about Facebook as if it were some kind of magic ingredient in her communications strategy. She points out that a large percentage of the 50,000 volunteers that made ‘Teeme Ära!’ So successful were not on Facebook – most didn’t even have email. She says the kinds of people who would pull their boots on and head for the forest with bin bags for a cleanup are unlikely to be the same as those who spend their time sitting in front of a computer. On the other hand, she admits that it was her Facebook page, and a YouTube video of the 2008 project, which triggered interest from abroad, resulting in similar campaigns in countries as far away as India and Brazil. Finally, Anneli has some advice about how to create a friendly and welcoming environment in Facebook, in order to stimulate useful discussion. She suggests the best analogy is to imagine you are inviting guests into your home. You first show your home, then provide comfort and food, and most of all you ask questions and draw your guests out, rather than bombard them with messages. Anneli can be contacted via www.minueesti.ee. The YouTube video that she refers to can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GryIDl0qY&rel=0

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