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Social media can boost the Royal Burgh – when it’s used properly

What a funny thing social media and the press are these days.

Three of the main tabloids at the start of April were telling us that Scotland would be in the middle of a heatwave over the Easter holidays. It lasted one day! Then we were going to have snow over the Easter weekend. They were close, but no cigar. This perpetual promise of lovely or terrible weather will be is normally forgotten by the time the next weekend supplement is out. It has happened in the press for years and will always happen, but people do not seem to bother about it.

Step forward to the present and we now have a new form of news feed, where everyone has memories and everyone can be judged instantly. Social media and the Internet.

It cannot be argued that social media is rapidly overtaking the printed media as the go to source for local and national news.

People want to know what is happening now, rather than waiting a day, or a week to find out the stories.

Organisations who have adopted and improved their presence through social media include the Lanark Lanimer Committee, the Playparks Action Group, Lanark Rugby Club, The Lanark Community Development Trust and some of the local churches.

One look at the Lanimer Facebook page shows all the events, news and stories for the upcoming celebrations. They tied in well with the Development Trust and their Daffodil tea in Castlebank Park, with the park being used as a venue for Lanimer balloon launch. Two organisations working hard together, and using social media for mutual benefit.

The Lanark Playparks action group are still working hard and their social media campaigns are bringing joy to the kids of Lanark when they raise funds for new play equipment in the Lanark parks, after council cutbacks no longer give our young ones the toys they deserve.

Lanark Rugby Club and the Lanark Eagles are now more prominent in the town than ever before. Full match reports, videos and stories and blogs fill our Facebook feeds, and we are now all becoming more connected with what was once a forgotten Lanark sports team.

Holy Week brought all the Lanark churches together, and the social media campaign has highlighted that the churches in the town are now more united, and supportive of each other than ever before. Walks around the town, Joint services, and the Ministers, and Priests working together showing a harmony in Lanark’s Christian Community that we could only have dreamt of 30 years ago.

However there will be the odd slip up with social media use and it can quickly turn on someone who is not willing to lead by example.

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April Fools’ Day hit Lanark (slightly) when it was reported on a local Facebook Page that T in the Park was going to be heading to Castlebank Park in 2018. 

Obviously a bit of fun here, but when the popular rock festival left Hamilton in 1996, one site that very nearly became host to the biggest festival in Scotland was Lanark Racecourse.

Negotiations were at a very advanced stage and the likes of Oasis, The Prodigy and The Stone Roses were nearly going to be appearing in our Royal Burgh. Some people blamed the Community Council for being against the multi-million pound weekend extravaganza, others blamed the “fuddy duddies” who didn’t want people with beards, body piercings and tattoos coming to our market town.

Whatever way you look at it and whoever you blame; Lanark missed out big time.

Who had heard of Balado before T in the Park? Lanark could have been put back on the map properly.

This got me thinking to other times Lanark has lost out, or times when we have won a watch, figuratively speaking.

We lost out when Marks and Spencer chose to open their shop in Hamilton instead of Lanark. Throw in when Lanark Racecourse shut down in the late 1970s in favour of Hamilton Park, who now run our Silver Bell Race. We were also affected by the fact that Lockhart Hospital, William Smellie Matrenity Hospital and the ambulance depot are now no longer in our town.

On the bright side, we have retained a town centre railway station with direct links to Glasgow. We have one of the oldest and biggest local festivals in Scotland, the Lanimer Celebrations, which our local authority still support and still attracts thousands. Plus we have fully manned, full sized police and fire stations in the town centre.

On the balance of it, we are never going to have a situation where everyone is happy about what we have or haven’t got, but then where would the fun be in that, and what would we all talk about on social media if we all agreed?