Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wow

This hyperlo site about New Hartford is pretty advanced.

4 comments:

Maria said...

Hi everyone: Just wanted to let you know that the "hyperlocal" New Hartford site, NewHartfordPlus, which is being plugged by Colin McEnroe today on his To Wit blog is being written by a Trinity grad. I graduated from Trinity in 1981 ~ Maria La Faci ~ and I'm now editor/writer/photographer of our small site about New Hartford. My husband Bob Moore is the other half of our operation and he's the "techie" for NHPlus. Best of luck with Colin's course ~ sounds like lots of fun. Let me know if I can be a resource for you in any way. Best, Maria Moore

Matt Dwyer said...

Thanks for checking in Maria!

As an assignment for the class, we have to come up with a strategy to make a successful hyper local site... So I'm looking for some real-world experience.

What was the biggest surprise you encountered once you started NewHartfordPlus?

Maria said...

Hi Matt:
Bob "the techie" and I are both sitting here, mulling over your question:
My immediate thought was "how much bloody work it is! (sorry for the Britishism ~ I grew up there!)
Bob says: How much the community really needed a site like ours. If you look at our Advetise page and see the stats. we've been posting every month, you can see the rapid growth of our readership ~ last month it was 25,879 visitors ~ keep in mind that New Hartford has a population of 6,700 +/- It just blows us away!
Maria again: there's such a thirst for wanting to know what's going on and so many different organizations and individuals wanting me to write about their own event/concerns, etc. that it can become an all-consuming activity. I work 7 days a week, start at 6 a.m. to get a community calendar out for 7 a.m., most evenings during the week I attend municipal meetings, and during the day I'm interviewing, doing research for my reports. So it's rare that I get to bed before midnight.
Get the picture? A LOT of hard work doing your due diligence before sitting down to write, and always remembering to be mindful of others' privacy, and the fact that after the news item is done with, we are all going to be continuing living in the same small town that we all love.
And I guess that's the secret: work on putting up a site that allows you to write about things you love, even if you're not an expert in that field. Your feeling will connect with others and I truly believe that's what makes the difference between a site that's alive and visited by many and one that's just a lone voice talking to itself.

Thanks for the opportunity to stop and think a bit about what we are doing. I'll check back and see how you're doing ~ such an exciting class to be involved with ~ makes me wish I was back in college again... Maria

Maria said...

Hi Matt: I posted a comment for you last night answering your question.

In case the comment got lost in space, basically the most surprising things are:
~ the huge void our online news site seems to be filling in residents' lives ~ in just over 9 months we had 25,000+ visitors in October (9th month) in a town with a population of 6,700+/- !
~ the huge investment of time necessary to keep the site up to date and relevant: I work 6 a.m. until at least midnight, 7 days per week. My husband works at least 3 hrs per day on the technical end of it after his full-time job.
~The huge influence the NewHartfordPlus has had in town affairs. If you were to track our reporting on the soon-to-be ex-First Selectman's doings in town I believe that was a huge factor in making residents aware of his modus operandi which resulted in his receiving only 64 votes in this past week's reelection. Must be a record!
~ the enormous satisfaction from writing about things that you love. I've always been a student of human nature (a Psych. major!) and I LOVE trying to get to whatever it is that makes people act the way they do. The passion communicates and keeps people coming back.

Probably the best advice from me when thinking about your own site: write about what you're passionate about and readers will invariably come to your site.

I hope this gets through! Maria