Secret Madeira is unveiled

Friday 27, August 2010


Secret Madeira is unveiled


Discover the hidden gems of Madeira Islands, plus its municipalities (Secret Sisters). These online community's are for those living in / born on Madeira to inspire the world on putting the spotlight on the Green Pearl of the Atlantic.


Secret Madeira unearth the treasures of Autonomous Region of Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago that lies between 32°22.3'N 16°16.5'W in the north Atlantic Ocean. Together with its Secret Sisters these social media communities are for those living in / born on Madeira that want to inspire the rest of the world by displaying their island of rugged coastline and mountains, of vineyards and hilltop villages, historic places and reserved locals, that remains largely untouched by the more extreme excesses of modern tourism. Sharing and discovering the secrets of the Green Pearl of the Atlantic. 


Don Amaro, Dutch with Madeiran roots (mother is from Ponta do Sol), created these Secret communities on Facebook, Secret Madeira and the Secret Sisters (Secret Funchal, Secret Calheta, Secret Câmara de Lobos, Secret Machico, Secret Ponta do Sol, Secret Porto Moniz, Secret Ribeira Brava, Secret Santa Cruz, Secret Santana, Secret São Vicente). The objective is to promote Madeira island through the new media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The inspiration came after reading on TechCrunch about the big success of a Facebook Group called Secret London - which quickly amassed over 180,000 followers in as little as 18 days. Similar groups such as Secret New York and other locations began cropping-up around the world. 


It was, however, a certain irony that the Madeira – related communities were created in January 2010, a month before the flood disaster of February 20th. The intention was to set up things slowly and build it up for two or three months before going full throttle. Unfortunately, the floods on Madeira were the reason we decided otherwise. We adapted our planning in order to take full advantage of the social media channels to inform both local and the outside world of the (real) situation on Madeira. While the worldwide media was showing dramatic images of the flood... others here on Madeira were showing both the negative and positive sides of the situation. Great was the effort of the Madeiran community, government, organizations, local companies, police, firemen and public services to restore and clean-up in record time the ravage from the floods. It was therefore necessary to put this heroic common effort in the spotlight as well. This was achieved thanks to a large number of the social media channels managed by Madeirans. 


The intention of Secret Madeira and Secret Sisters is to invite people to post information that is reletad to Madeira and/or their favourite region/village/place. Not only a "what to do and where to go" ... but also simple things like favourite lunch places, "hidden" art galleries, unknown walking paths, … you name it. It is not the intention of the Secret Sisters to compete with the other existing Madeira promoters like the Madeira Tourism Board. Instead Secret Sisters are looking forward to work together with these and other entities that are promoting the island. 


Thanks to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, Secret Madeira and Secret Sisters can fulfil the need of a totally user-generated forum to discuss about the Madeira Islands and its regions ... events, special places, food, interesting topics ... whatever is on the member’s minds. Frequently posting and interacting with members and fans are more important than sending invitations or requests for 'likes'. 


The postings on the Secret Madeira and Sisters reaches a very broad area ... from best the best places to eat ... to museums, gardens, galleries, … to cool events, specials parties, … to horse riding, paragliding ... to levada walking and more. Members are posting cool photos of locations, exposing the hidden beauties of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Travellers, photographers, tour- and walking-guides, taxi-drivers, hikers, etc. ... are sharing their discoveries, their secrets … of the Green Pearl of the Atlantic. Stuff that most the guide books miss to mention. 


The interaction is of great importance and it is thanks to loyal fans and great administrators like Maria, who keeps these communities alive with updated information about the location. 


Maria is Angolan with Madeiran roots (mother is from Funchal) and resides in since two years in Funchal City. 


For example Secret Funchal is for Funchalenses to share the secrets of their city with fellow Funchalenses, but also the visitors and tourists visiting the city. The same concept goes for the other municipalities. Secret Madeira covers the rest of the island, however posting on the other Secret pages will also be shared. 


We decided to only use the existing social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Although it sometimes seems that these tools are far from perfect, we believe that in the near future they will provide the functionality required. Even if we are not planning to build special crowd-sourcing sites for the Secret Madeira and Sisters communities, we did register the domain name just in case. We do not see the need to re-"invent the wheel" ... but we do keep our eyes open for new options. 


We hope that all Madeirans, also those who are living in other countries, will join these communities and share their personal secrets of one of the most beautiful places on earth ... which they all call "home". By all means we welcome also all Madeira fans and visitors to share their findings. 


After God created the world, He sat back and admired His handiwork, and being pleased with what He had created, He kissed the world tenderly. And where He placed the kiss, Madeira was born.



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