“Wow!” said our Editor in Chief as people poured into the room we had booked for our fringe meeting last Friday at the UKIP Conference in Bournemouth.
Viv Evans and I had discussed potential attendance figures before the meeting. “I think we’ll be lucky if we get a dozen people,” she said. “Half a dozen is probably more likely.”
Nevertheless, we designed posters telling delegates all about it, printed them off, laminated them and erected them wherever we were allowed to and also printed off a couple of hundred flyers which were then put on the seats in the main auditorium.
Then we waited. And then they came.
We estimated around 40 people came into the room that day, some of whom were our regular contributors and it was lovely to meet them face to face. Others were regular readers – “It’s the first thing I turn to every day,” said one – and yet more told us they often commented on the posts.
Others said they had never before heard of UKIPDaily but had seen the posters so had come along to find out what it was all about, and yet others felt it was an excellent idea to have an associated and supportive group that was independent of the party itself.
Because of the numbers, Viv felt there was a need to actually address them, rather than the informal get-together-and-chat we had anticipated. She told them all about the set-up of UKIPDaily, where we get our copy, who does what and who used to do what in the past.
Then she threw the meeting open to the floor, and was met with a number of excellent suggestions that will now be investigated. She explained that our IT knowledge was not the best – and an IT expert stepped forward and offered his help. Again, we will see what we can do to work with him.
Viv explained that the site was run on a shoestring and that the editors had put their hands in their own pockets to pay for this room. At the end of the meeting, there was a whip-round and enough cash was collected to repay the editors for the room hire. Viv was emotional with gratitude. “Aren’t these people wonderful?” she beamed.
There is no doubt that the meeting was well worth while and that many of those who did not attend saw the posters and flyers and have now heard about UKIPDaily.
We will watch the site’s hit counter with interest!