Hi All, why did the wheel, reinvent the 'wheel'. Forgive the pun!  And not use existing social media to communicate and disseminate information.  Are you concerned that this tactic will burden you with the cost of administering this site and marginalise the service by not making it accessible through facebook, twitter, blogger etc? Regards Alan

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paul.meade's picture

Hi Alan,Thanks for the

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the interesting question (and the pun!)

I guess the specific reason we 'reinvented The Wheel' is because we wanted to give our members, as well as the wider community and voluntary sector - and indeed the public at large - an improved user experience when visiting our website.

Our old website was unfortunately no longer capable of keeping up with and incorporating new technologies (even posting a video on the site was a challenge - and adding a single article was a cumbersome affair indeed!) Even the best vintage cars have to be replaced eventually I guess.

But, regarding your question about why we do not exclusively use the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Blogger to disseminate our vast body of information to the Irish community and voluntary sector, well, the simple answer is because, the various social media sites do not contain the functionality that The Wheel requires.

For example, take our training section. This lists almost 2,000 courses from hundreds of different training providers. These training providers all have profiles on on which the various courses they run are listed. The key element of all of this vast body of information is that it must be searchable from a single page. There are no database modules/applications on any of the popular social media platforms that even come close to providing the level of functionality, advanced search filters and interconnectedness that even just our training section requires.

The same goes for our funding section. We have built a unique standard of technology for our Fundingpoint database, allowing us to list not only over 700 funding schemes to which the Irish community and voluntary sector can apply, but also - and this is the key - which we can then link to funders and to which we can attach funding deadlines. Again, sadly, Facebook et al. simply can't compete with this type of macro-functionality.

But perhaps above and beyond the various functional requirements of the different sections of our website, first and foremost strives to serve as a central resource for the Irish community and voluntary sector. Our aim is to keep the sector connected to the information they need to know, across many different subject fields and issues, and to make that information easy to access and find. If we were to try and transfer the many thousands of pages of content housed on to Facebook, or a similar social media site, we would have not only the biggest social media profile in the world, but we would also then leave the visitors to our profile with almost no coherent way to actually locate the information they require (as search engines on social media sites tend to be very restricted and cannot be customised).

The good news is that is anything but marginalised - traffic to our new website continues to grow and lots of people (yourself included!) are discovering the benefits of our new Sector Connector feature. 

Long may it continue!



p.s. Incidentally, most of the information on our website - your own question included - can already be shared on a variety of social media platforms. You can use the 'Share' tool (located towards the bottom of all content pages) to post an article/notice/question to Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc. Similarly, you can find The Wheel here on Facebook and follow us on Twitter here

alanleotennyson's picture

 Hi Paul,  I didn't expect

 Hi Paul,  I didn't expect such a detailed response and its safe to say my question is answered in fully.  I have been learning from you guys for a number of years now, probably first came across your site in 2003 or 2004.  Glad to see your engaging with the social media platforms, not that I have any great love of them, but the fact is that that's where the majority of people are.  I'll be sure to follow you guys and I am sure I will continue to benefit from your service.  Alan    

paul.meade's picture

Hi Alan, You're 100% right

Hi Alan, 

You're 100% right about social media - they are the wave of the future. I think you're probably going to see more and more websites incorporating aspects of social media into their structure in the future too (perhaps we are ahead of the game on that front!)

Thanks for your continued support.