Celebrating the world wide web, on wheels

Carnival Float 2014It’s Carnival time again. This year, dressed as the internet, I drove a colourfully decorated tractor down Fleet High Street on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon.

The theme of the procession was Great British Inventions. The World Wide Web is certainly a Great British invention, but not easy to portray when you only have a small tractor and trailer as your carnival float.

Nevertheless, the Fleet Pond Society rose to the challenge, and we were awarded first prize in our category for our interpretive efforts. Our www. team wore webbing and spiders to convey the web; an inflatable globe covered in netting and spiders on the back of the trailer was the world and our meerkat crew all held portable internet devices.

(Why meerkats? Because we had them leftover from last year when they were our pirate crew, of course!)

It’s interesting to reflect on the difference the internet has made to organisations of all sizes. The Fleet Pond Society is a relatively small conservation charity that helps to maintain the largest lake in Hampshire. We have a website, blog, facebook page and Twitter account. We also have an online donations page that we update every time we hold a new fundraiser.

The internet has made a significant difference to the way we raise funds and communicate with our volunteers. We’re able to publicise events to our members via social media. We can get in touch with our conservation volunteers at short notice on email to keep them informed of the various work parties that take place around the pond. Our blog and website keep the general public updated with news of all the activities that take place at Fleet Pond.

(You’d be surprised at how much goes on at a 141-acre local nature reserve.)

The Fleet Pond Society was founded in 1976, and like any organisation it's had to adapt to survive. The ability to communicate to a wider audience via the internet has probably been one of the biggest changes it's embraced in its nearly forty-year history. So, despite the difficulty of portraying the virtual world in physical form, we gave it a go in appreciation of the benefits it’s brought to the Society.

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