On Facebook, Sicily is the most liked Region of Italy with more than 925 thousand fans
The world of social networking is so young and jam-packed with mystery that any analysis often ends up in riddles. However, certain things can’t be denied: specifically numbers. They don’t reflect opinions. And so, among all the Italian Regions, the page with the most fans is without doubt the one dedicated to Sicily (https://www.facebook.com/lasicilia), which, a few days ago, passed the 925 thousand level. It’s a truly important milestone that, maybe, not even the founders in December 2008 dared to imagine.
Every day the page provides details of what is happening on the island; it gathers together the stories of Sicilians in Sicily and Sicilians in the world, becoming for the latter a fundamental way of always remaining in contact with their beloved native soil.
The breathtaking photographic collections and thematic Albums, indexed on the page, make the reading and browsing cleaner and well-ordered. The “Sicilia” Facebook page, furthermore, is clear and transparent: there are no capital interests, or investments, or financing behind the scenes: there are no economic interests or vain entrepreneurial ambitions on display. Nothing: just “people” up front and behind the scenes – the administrators, collaborators and readers. There are contributors, big and small, who have something to say or to recount, and there is a constant delight in looking forward to new items, to glance at who has posted something, to hear news, to post updates. However, at heart this is the aim of all pages and the intention of all the administrators of the various Regions and of many internet sites.
But why then is the Sicily page doing so well?
Alessandra Verzara, the Editor-in-chief of the online newspaper, www.sceltedigusto.it, has a clear idea: “Because, on this page, we all find the very thing for which we feel an ancestral need, an atavistic desire, but that perhaps – for different reasons or owing to various disenchantments and disappointments – we have given up on searching for: in other words, soul. The soul of our people, of our populace, of our region, of our suffering, of our injuries, of our pride and of our contradictions. The soul of a color, of a flavor, of a dignity lost and rediscovered. The soul of those departed and those to come. And on the web there is precious little soul. To “Sicilia”, ad altiora semper”.
Interviewed by Veronica Femminino from http://agrigento.blogsicilia.it, Alfonso, the page administrator, explained that “the page updates follow the topical events of the moment. During the period in which the banning of crucifixes being displayed in schools became a matter for discussion, I immediately created the album, “Crucifixes of Sicily”, exactly with the objective of showing the users the richness of our traditional crafts relating to religion. The page is visited by around 100 thousand people every day. The views come from every part of the world, with the majority concentrated in the areas where the largest Sicilian communities are located, like the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia. But the most important thing to underline is the non-speculative nature of the enterprise. There is no economic return for the collaborators, or for those who run it.
The aim of the page is above all to make Sicily known to Sicilians, and not just to tourists – history, traditions that are at risk of disappearing, popular sayings. It’s enough to think of the splendid little museums dotted around the territory of the Region, but that few people know, except the residents of the neighborhood. We are highlighting and pinpointing the specifics of our land. As in the case of traditional crafts. Of course, we never sponsor a business, rather we focus on a trade, letting those who don’t know anything about it understand the richness of our island’s crafts”. So, in addition to Alessandra Verzera’s explanation, perhaps we can also add this nugget to help answer the question “why is the Sicily page doing so well on Facebook?”
It’s also surely because the page is edited and looked after with love. Love, passion and expertise in collating experiences from the most beautiful island in the world.
Translated by Andrew Edwards, co-author of Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travellers (A. Edwards & S. Edwards), www.facebook.com/andrewsuzanneedwards