Mapping visitors of the Dutch online project ‘New We’

The Dutch multimedia New We project ( started in December 2008. The aim of the project is to promote social cohesion in a society, which is at the same time secular, multi-ethnic and multi-religious. The challenge is to find answers to the question of how to live together in peace and harmony without denying the mutual differences. Starting from the motto ‘Connect the differences’, the project’s website offers elaborate information about different religious and spiritual backgrounds of people, and personal stories and views on topical issues in society from diverse perspectives. The idea behind the New We project is learning to deal with different worldviews without unnecessary anxiety towards ‘the other’ and with fewer prejudices. Information and communication in order to promote mutual understanding and connecting people are important ingredients in the search of a ‘New We’.

After six years the website has about 45.000 unique visitors every month and the number of visitors is still increasing. This autumn, a research is planned to ‘map’ these visitors. This will be done in terms of demographics (age, gender, ethnic/cultural/religious background and such), but also – actually the most important question – in terms of interests. Why do people visit the site, what do they hope to find, how is it relevant to their daily lives?

With this THAT camp session, I would like to call in the expertise and creativity of the participants of the conference. What could be interesting questions for this research to present to website visitors? And also: how to use the site and social media for doing research in an effective way, while at the same time building up a ‘new we’ community’?