Nice to meet you!
At the very beginning this was a totally anonymous activity. We signed ourselves off as ‘Ovid’ (in Latin Ovidius and in Italian Ovidio) and made no mention of who or what was behind the page at all. Welcome to Sulmona was a total experiment borne out of total frustration. Over several coffees and many aperitivi our conversations inevitably turned to: how on earth do we find out what’s going on in Sulmona from anything other than a poster in a shop window put up the day before? We’re simply not used to this. We like to plan. We’re not good at being spontaneous. One of us at least is from Northern Europe. It’s just wrong and on a very basic level it’s not very clever. Plus it’s all in Italian. Well DOH! Of course it is but what about the people who don’t speak italian? Are these events just for those in-the-know? Don’t we want tourists here and lots of them? Of course we do and who speaks Italian other than the Italians?
Here’s the science:
Italian is spoken as a native language by 59 million people … and as a second language by 14 million (you can learn more on the Italian Language on Wikipedia). In real terms this means not very many. How many people speak English worldwide, either as first or a second language? One out of four of the world’s population speak English to some level of competence; demand from the other three-quarters is increasing.
‘Appunto’, as we say.
There has always been the type of tourist who understands the concept of a ‘Sagra‘ and, seeing a poster stating a date and the name of a local village, just heads off in that direction at about 6.00pm and gets stuck in. But what about the rest? According to the UK’s Telegraph Travel Section ’80 per cent of Britons use the internet to research their travel’ (May 2013). That means that in order to make an informed decision about where and when to go on holiday, our many, many potential visitors need and want to be able to conduct their research from home in a language they understand. About half an hour after we had this blinding and totally revolutionary thought (yes – exactly – it’s not rocket science is it?) the Facebook page was up and running.
Luckily for us what the Sulmonesi lack in traditional marketing methods they make up for with an almost pathological obsession with Facebook. Almost all local organisations and events have a dedicated Facebook page so we started republishing information and translating it into English. Slowly our readership grew and we started to attract lots of attention from all over the world.
We’ve had some really fantastic responses to our efforts including lots of positive feedback and the news that one elderly reader from the US (originally from Marane) had asked to be set up with a FB profile solely with the intention of following our page. We’ve had requests to trace lost relatives, queries about public transport, bike hire & camp sites, complaints about parking, German poetry, beautiful photos submitted by amateurs and professionals alike, helpful suggestions on what to publish, some blatant attempts at free publicity and a rather strange late-night rant in Italian about how we were fakes and phoneys and only using Google translate.
So here we are, more than one year on. We needed to take the Facebook page to another level and allow information to be more easily available. One of the drawbacks of Facebook is that it’s a very ephemeral medium and much of the good stuff we have published has been hidden away never to be found again. We are also aware that not everyone knows, or wants to know, how to use Facebook. So we’ve discussed, laughed, cried, sweated, expanded, elaborated, but not yet argued about how to get this thing going and here we are.
Please note that we are an independent enterprise and our totally subjective editorial policy is often dependent on us finding time to share stuff with you. Neither are we investigative journalists so if we don’t publish something obvious it may be because we simply didn’t know about it. Nevertheless we hope that you enjoy the fruits of our labours…
All images, unless otherwise stated, are the property of Quid Novi Consulting and we will take a very dim view if we see that they have been misused. Also, although some of our copy is not our own original work, we have taken the trouble to translate and adapt it for our own purposes so again, please don’t just pinch it – there’s a lot of work here… If you would like to use our copy for your own website, please just write to us and ask. We usually say yes in return for a simple credit and a link back. We don’t bite but we do generally express our displeasure if this generosity is abused. Drop us a line…
We welcome contributions from guest authors on pretty much any subject related to Sulmona, the Valle Peligna and Abruzzo in general. Whilst we might object to blatant advertorial you are welcome to promote your blog, travel company, establishment or enterprise in any way that we feel might be helpful or interesting to our readership. At this stage we can’t pay anyone for content but then Rome wasn’t built in a day! Likewise we are happy to contribute to your own blog, website or publication, if you have an interesting proposal for us. We write in both Italian and English.