I like MyFarm!

Now, when I started writing about micro-participation, I never envisaged the possibility of micro-farming, but there we are!

MyFarm is a great initiative from the National Trust, effectively making games like Facebook’s Farmville real.

Participants pay £30 a year to be involved, and get to vote on various decisions affecting the farm. It’s a bit like an agricultural version of MyFootballClub, which saw a bunch of people from the internet buy Ebbsfleet United.

The benefits are increasing knowledge about farming and the countryside – and also to help people understand where food comes from.

It’ a great idea – and a brave one too.

Planning trips, 2.0

We’re off for a trip next week, to Cornwall for a few days. There may well be some light blogging ahead. Anyway, we are trying to cram in as much stuff as we can, and make the best use of our membership of both English Heritage and the National Trust.

(It’s always done my head in that there needs to be two different organisations to manage heritage properties in the UK, but I am sure there is a good reason for it. Probably.)

Anyway, there are a number of things that are quite important to consider when planning what we are seeing when, for example: the distance between places, the distance back to where we are staying, how long each journey will take, how long we might want to stay in one place for.To get this done, we had to:

  • Look in the two different handbooks to see what places we might like to visit
  • Check the map to see if they were near each other
  • Use Google Maps to work out distances and times
  • Record it all on a spreadsheet

This is a pain in the arse. Fair enough, you don’t want to plan these things too much, else it stops being fun, but some idea of an itinerary is probably a good thing if you want to make the best use of your time.

I did think, though, that it would be easier if we had a Google Maps mashup, linked to a database containing the postcodes of EH, NT and other touristy type attractions, where you could build a route for each day, maybe the system could even suggest stuff that’s close by.

I’m sure this wouldn’t be so hard to do, if you had the information available. As David Wilcox reported, EH are starting to do stuff in the social networking space, albeit focusing on volunteers etc rather than visitors (I think). Having quickly Googled, I couldn’t find any kind of online community for people interested in these kinds of places, not even a forum. OK, so I didn’t look very hard, but this is pretty surprising.

There’s opportunities everywhere.