We’ve come a long way since 1998! Our main site was established right before the new millennium in 1998, and in 2004 was moved to vratrips.org. How many of you know all of the VRA’s sites? Well here’s a quick summary: VRATrips.org, EasterBunnyTrain.com, SantaTrainRide.com and HawthorneStation.info. Then there’s the Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Volunteerrailroaders/ and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Volunteer-Railroaders-Association/38523424986
Why make these changes? Our train ride customers, AKA today’s parents, AKA ‘Generation Y’ are very mobile device-oriented (cell phone, iPad, etc), with a single-purpose site focus compared to us ‘Baby Boomers’ and our newer members, aka ‘Generation X’ (born 1960-79). We’ve added several Twitter accounts to the mix too in 2010. Why this ‘old’ Twitter news? Well, our three Twitter accounts haven’t been pushed but they are slowly growing. When Jon Berkemeyer made our Facebook page two years ago it took a while to grow too. Now we have 138 Fans on Facebook and see weekly growth upticks.
When the 2010 Santa Train ran, we saw a significant growth in mobile device use. In reaction to that, the 2011 Easter Bunny Train website was made even more mobile friendly. Seeing the huge usage shift to mobile during both (2011’s Easter train site saw 400% as much mobile traffic as the 2010 Santa train), I’ve decided for 2012 the Santa Train Ride site needed to be ‘taken to the next level’ so to speak. Yes, December 1st, 2012 Santa Claus Train Ride – mark that date! SantaTrainRide.Com is our first site that will look markedly different on a cell phone compared to a PC/Mac.