Case 5: First - Necessity, Second - Fun

At SHMU in Scotland we struggled to find ways to successfully engage with young people. We tried competitions, discussions, quizzes, surveys, crafts and digital media activities. These activities combined fun with the outcomes we set. But mostly these required effort and provided very little return. And we knew what the problem was: we could never compete with the vast range of options available to young people elsewhere on the internet. That's when we decided we needed to do something unique, so we asked ouselves: what can we provide through this site which young people cannot get anywhere else?

We began pulling back from engagement through fun content to focusing on the activities of the project itself. We made the timetable available online, we put up staff profiles, made virtual groups reflecting the real groups and sessions within the project, and we began creating discussions about issues affecting the project. This was the technique we successfully developed for use in SHMU's Youth Radio Project group and which was being deployed in the Tilly Youth Project. And remember, participants can still have fun on the site, but the primary function we created was one of necessity.