About This Document
This case study describes the development of IT services across various social media platforms before and during the pandemic used by the Rampant Rooster Morris Dancers.
Rampant Roosters social media presence has developed over time with responsibility for different platforms usually being spread among several members depending on their particular area of expertise or inclination.
Our social media platforms include our own website, Twitter, Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube accounts and a WhatsApp account and Google Drive for members use only. We also have a presence on local forums such as the Guildford Tourist Information Website, ‘We Love Dorking’, ‘We Love Bookham’, ‘We Love Brockham’ – in fact we will love any local village site in our area!
We also have a presence on our local radio station BBC Radio Surrey.
Rampant Roosters embraced social media over 10 years ago with the development of a website (www.rampantroostermorris.co.uk) which has been created by John Scholey, a member of the side in 2001. The website was subsequently developed by John Gallagher who offered his services as “Web Rooster” as he has expertise in this particular area.
The intention from the beginning was that the website would be a gateway to other resources. He has used links to other organisations and platforms to give visitors and members access to far more information than it would be possible to include on our own website alone.
At first the website was fairly simple and contained basic information about the side, links to other relevant organisations, photographs of the side dancing at various stands, contact details and a programme.
Another member took over the site for a few years and developed it further, adding video clips and creating a Google Drive for members use linked to the website.
John recently took back responsibility for the website and has completed a major redesign and upgrade. We now have more links to other organisations and have reciprocal links on their websites. This means that we are supporting and promoting other business and community groups by expanding their visibility while, at the same time, putting the world of Morris dancing at the heart of our community and raising its profile. We see this as a win, win situation for everyone.
An example of this is that when we dance at a venue, for example Denbies Vineyard or a local charity event such as The Brigitte Trust Garden Party, we will advertise the event on as many of our social media platforms as possible and they, in turn, publicise the fact that Rampant Rooster’s will be dancing.
We also have a comprehensive Calendar of our stands which is kept up to date by our Scribe, Ann. Keeping this current is vital as we know that our followers do look at where we are dancing and come along to support us.
Another example of the way in which we use our website as a Gateway is that we have filmed all of our dances during practice sessions and uploaded them to our Google Drive. This is accessed from the website using a member’s only password, and is used as a reminder for our established dancers and as a very valuable learning tool for any newcomers.
This has always been a useful addition but proved invaluable during lockdown.
We instigated Zoom practice sessions partly as a means of keeping members together and maintaining interest in dancing during a difficult time, but also to prepare for post lockdown stands.
Our Foremen (we have a group of 3) had adapted a core of suitable dances to enable socially distance dancing once we were allowed to meet again, and the Zoom sessions allowed them to teach these to the side. However, most of our members were dancing on their own having to imagine all the other people in the set, which is a huge mental challenge. The fact that our dances were all available on our Google Drive meant that they could, and did, use these to remind themselves of the formations and where everyone else in the set was going.
We also have music dots and videos of musicians playing all the tunes we dance to on the Google Drive as a resource for our musicians. These are usually added by our lead musician Ann. Again, having the music recorded and available meant that during our lockdown Zoom sessions we were able to link a member’s Alexa device and use this to provide the music for us. We have also used Alexa at live practices to give our musicians, who are all also dancers, to get some dancing practice (she has proved so helpful that we are thinking of making her an honorary Rooster.)
Our Squire posts regular Twitter feeds using our @RampantRooster Twitter account in advance of all dance outs and we have reciprocal links with a number of other morris sides, local charities, businesses, other organisations and individuals. We currently have nearly 4,000 followers (3,962 to be exact).
Our Web Rooster posts regular videos of our stands to our Rampant Rooster YouTube account.
We use the Rampant Rooster Facebook page to promote forthcoming events and also to record our activities. These can be pictures and information about a stand we have just attended or may also be a record of a Rooster only event. For instance, we recently had a group meal to celebrate the end of our post lockdown summer season. We think it is important to show that we have other social activities as well as morris dancing in which non-dancing/playing partners can take part.
Our Deputy Squire, Rob, has taken responsibility for posting details of forthcoming events on as many local forums as we can find. We feel that our local area is the most likely place to source new members so visibility on this sort of platform is key. It also raises the profile of Rampant Roosters and Morris dancing in general within the community.
Our Rampant Rooster Instagram account was set up before Lock-Down, and although we have made no posts yet we already have 90 followers. At present we follow other people but intend to begin adding our own content in the near future.
Rampant Rooster Morris’s Squire, Niall, has made regular appearances on our local radio station promoting specific events, Rampant Roosters and Morris dancing in general.
A particularly useful regular feature (sadly no longer on air) was called ‘What’s on Wednesday’. Niall always rang the station to make sure that details of any forthcoming Rooster stands and events were included. It was also a good place to advertise that we were always looking for new members.
Having several members involved in promoting the side on social media has meant that we now have a very broad base of platforms and content, as everyone involved has come at the project from the perspective of their own interests.
Our social media is invaluable for keeping in touch with our followers and generating audiences at our events, and is equally invaluable as a resource for our own members.
In all of our interactions, on social media as well as face to face, we try to make sure that Rampant Roosters benefit our local community by supporting other local organisations, charities and businesses. In doing this we are also putting our side at the heart of our community and raising the profile of the Morris dancing tradition as a whole.
Status of this Document
Document created: 24 Sep 2021
About the Author
Niall Mitchell is squire of Rampant Rooster Morris.
Licence for this Document
This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:
This document is based on the "Case Study: Rampant Rooster Morris Dancers IT Developments" document by Niall Mitchell, squire of Rampant Rooster Morris and published by the Morris Federation.