By May 15, the little online village of BallyPhilly will be just a fond memory. On that date, we’re turning the lights off for good.
Lately, we’ve done a lot of work to make the site more attractive. In fact, we think it looks pretty good. We thought the facelift might attract new members and generate more discussions, inspire more blog posts, encourage more people to share photos and videos, and interest more members in starting or joining groups.
Nothing like that has happened. Aside from one incredibly prolific correspondent from Belfast (thanks, Dick!), hardly anyone posts anything on BallyPhilly. Daily visits to the site hardly ever exceed 30. And, lately, the only prospective new members we get on a day-to-day basis are porn peddlers. (This morning we received a membership application from Sexy Shannon Elizabeth. We’re not sure who that is, and it sounds intriguing, but … no.)
That’s not to say that the idea of a robust online community for Irish Philadelphians can’t work. In fact, it does work … and it has been working for quite a while. It’s our Irish Philadelphia group on Facebook.
In all the time BallyPhilly has occupied its little corner of the Web, we’ve signed up only 335 members. In contrast, our Facebook page has 1,487 members—and our Facebook page has not been on the Web as long as BallyPhilly has.
What’s more, our Facebook group is infinitely more active. People are always posting their thoughts there, asking genealogy questions, announcing their concerts—even trying to hire a nanny!
The way to go seems obvious to us. It just makes more sense to devote our energies to maintaining our Facebook group.
And in case you’re wondering … no, we’re not closing down BallyPhilly because the host is about to start charging for what is now a free service. We have a pretty fair idea what those charges will be, and they seem quite reasonable. If BallyPhilly was a going concern, we’d happily foot the bill. But it really makes no sense to pay for a site that is visited by 30 people a day.
So for those of you who have been loyal members, especially those who were in on the ground floor, thank you so much for taking part in this experiment in online community building.
But bear in mind, even though BallyPhilly is going away, you can still belong to a vibrant Irish online community. Just relocate to our Facebook page, and join up! Again, our thanks for your support.