Talking about community wikis

December 10, 2011 § 5 Comments

I recently came across Localwiki.org an open-source platform to drive community-based wikis. It currently powers Denton Wiki. It reminded my of one of my New Years work-related resolution from 2009 – to start a community Wiki.

That resolution never got anywhere, mostly because it didn’t really fit my schedule of projects and because at the time the process for setting up useful wiki was still daunting. The Local Wiki project seems to have solved that hurdle. From the demo video, it’s pretty feature rich and has a slick admin interface. Easy to set up pages, create templates, manage media files and a nice mapping feature.

In the next month or so I’m hoping we’ll be able to install this and start playing around with a local wiki.

In the meantime, we’ll need to start brainstorming to develop a framework of pages/categories and also develop a list of local agencies that could become partners. And I envision monthly meet-ups to keep the community involved and aware of the project.

Some early ideas for pages that fit our community:

  • History
  • Architecture
  • Sports
  • Wine
  • Agriculture
  • Schools
  • Arts
  • Music
  • Parks

I’ll be posting updates as we move forward.

I’d love to hear from anyone that has helped set up  or is involved in maintaining a community wiki or if you have an upcoming project using Local Wiki.

Social networks lead to social networks

August 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’ve been administering a community social network hosted on Ning for the past 3 months. It has only been promoted to people who follow our newspaper’s Twitter feed and to members of our Flickr photo pool. It hasn’t grown the way I had hoped. There has been very little content, other than photos, posted by the members.

However, I don’t consider it a failure. Through it I have made connections with some of the members that have led to other projects. In particular, I will be collaborating with a couple of members on niche video podcasts. And recently a new member directed me toward another local social network aimed at dog owners. Guess what, the newsroom is currently working on a series of articles on local pets and their owners. Walla Walla Dogs will be great resource.

The networks exist. Even in our small town. They are a great resource to the communities they serve and they could/should be a resource for journalists.

Community manager needed in newsroom

August 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

Up until now, I have been the lone “web person” in the news room. I shoot and edit video and audio. I create web packages, I manage our digital content including Twitter, daily news webcast, a couple of community social network and I act as new media advocate in the newsroom.

Community outreach is the aspect of my job that has suffered the most because of all these duties.  Making those connections with community leaders. Getting the community to join and participate in the social networks. Promoting our web content where it matters most: at the school board meetings, at the little league games, in the coffee shops, wherever the community is. You know, community organizing as David Cohn wrote in a recent post:

“It’s often said that the job description for journalists are changing and that part of the new job is ‘community manager’ – sometimes called the ‘network weaver.’

What they do is organize communities – and while it might not FEEL like media, it is. We may not call them “journalists” but they are helping to inform citizens so they can make decisions in a healthy democracy. They collect, filter and distribute information. Sounds like journalism to me.”

I recently found out that we’re going to hire a part-time “web person” who will take on those roles in the community that I haven’t been able to fill. Sure he/she will shoot some video, post some breaking news items, fix online headlines, etc. but more importantly this person will be out away from the office, away from the computer screen.

Network of niche community podcasts

August 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

One of my upcoming projects to creat a network of niche podcasts that will primarily be produced and “star” community members. You know, the experts in their respective fields of interest. It’s not about producing content that you “think” the community wants. It’s about engaging the community.

There are plenty of wine enthusiasts in our community since it is located in a wine producing valley. Many of these people have wine blogs, some own online wine shops, some make the wine and many drink and love to talk about it. Why not find a few that would be comfortable in front of the camera and let them go at it. Let them bring their passion and their personality and share their knowledge about wine. We’ve got the resources as far as video equipment and we have the distribution channels (for all practical purposes our paper is the main media outlet in our town.)

How about a local high school sports podcast? Well let’s find a couple of outgoing “armchair quarterbacks,” put a mic in front of them and let them dissect the latest football or basketball game. Create a community around the podcast. Let people send questions or comment about the sports scene and then address these concerns on the show.

I’ve contacted several local bloggers to gauge their interest in such a venture and I have been very pleased to hear their positive responses. Over the next few months we will be rolling out new online products including a “wine and dine” site and I am hoping that these community led podcasts will be an integral piece of our new online offerings. What do you think? Could it work in your town?

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