Arrive Alive joins Facebook

Candice Jones
By Candice Jones, ITWeb online telecoms editor
Johannesburg, 29 Jan 2008

Privately run has linked into Facebook to drive Web site traffic and push the road safety message to South Africans on the social network.

However, creating Facebook groups can be a double-edged sword, says administrator Johan Jonck. "If I send too much content through the group, people are going to perceive it as spam. It's going to have to be about achieving the right balance so that the Arrive Alive message gets out there."

The group contains more than 500 users and Jonck says the response has been positive. "I wanted the site and the group to create a positive attitude among drivers in SA. It's not a platform for complaining about bad or aggressive drivers, but a place for people to present ideas for road safety."

The group will later be complemented by a Facebook application, he says. "I am still working on the logistics of putting together a useful application that will both work alongside the Web site and be useful for users."

Jonck says the Facebook group has been constructive to its Web counterpart,; however, it is not the primary traffic driver. "I added an 'Ask an Expert' section to the site, where people can ask specific questions around driving safely. People are extremely interested in this section, because people from various large traffic organisations contribute responses.

"I have also added a blogging section, which is also helping to drive traffic. The site is now seeing roughly 500 000 unique impressions a month. I am still going to use as many Web channels as I can to drive home the message," he states.

The site was started five years ago to complement a Department of Transport campaign; however, the department does not contribute financially to the maintenance of the site. According to Jonck, the site is kept alive through private sponsorship. "I could do so much more if there was more funding, as it is a full time job that I do outside of my regular work."

Jonck communicates with Netcare 911, the road accident fund and several other related organisations to provide the content for the site. He plans a complete overhaul of the site over the next few months.