Twelve years ago, Lise and I flipped the proverbial switch and turned on iBrattleboro.com, a new type of web site. It used the world wide web to communicate hyper-locally, and gave everyone in town who cared to register a platform for sharing news, events, stories, and opinions of all things Brattleboro.
Since then, we’ve worked to keep things up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, even on holidays. That’s 4015 days without much of a break, something I’m not sure I would have agreed to up front had I known what was involved, but now I can’t really imagine things without it. That will come someday, but not now. Now we are twelve.
That’s 12 years of non-professional, un-edited, real-community local information. You’ve done a spectacular job.
There have been many new users in the last few months, so I thought it might be useful to take a moment to briefly explain iBrattleboro to our relatively new friends. Long-time users of the site are welcome to add additional information in comments.
iBrattleboro was started in February of 2003 as an experiment in do-it-yourself media. It was a reaction to a number of things including big media consolidation, a lack of local reporting, and our personal interest in developing an online community resource.
Every once in a while we ask fans of the site to help cover the costs of keeping it going.
If you are in a position to do so and would like to help out, consider a gift to help offset some of the expenses of keeping this ship sailing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (for over a decade).
Kirsten A. Johnson, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the Department of Communications at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa, has a request. She's doing research about citizen journalism efforts around the country and would like your views as users and contributors to this site. The more responses she gets, the more accurate the results can be. We filled out our survey, and she followed up and asked us to invite you and share the link.
Happy Birthday everyone. iBrattleboro is now 11 years old That means we’re all heading toward our exciting teen years, but still retaining our youthful charm and innocence, right?
Lise and I are your guides and enablers, but the site remains yours. You decide what’s important, you write the stories, and you provide the commentary. There are no reporters or editors.
In 2003, the idea of using the world wide web for a local purpose was almost unheard of. News came from the TV set and from the newspaper or weekly news magazines. There were few blogs, no Facebook, no YouTube, nor Twitter. News outlets did not let you comment on stories other than by sending letters to the editor.
Just a note to say Lise and I wish you all the best this holiday season.
Thanks for keeping Brattleboro interesting, and keeping your neighbors informed and entertained with news, stories, commentary, history, events, links, photos, and more.
Santa visits the animated calendar today... watch him touch down on Oak Street.
Just a quick not to say how delightful it is to see the return of the iBrattleboro Christmas Calendar, one of my holiday tradtions for several years now. I love the pictures of old Brattleboro, alhtough at first it took me awhile to realize that in Windows I could right click and zoom in for a more detailed view. I get such a kick out of the animations. It's a great way to start the season. Thank You.
Somehow y'all broke this week's poll about where to put the skatepark. Our best guess is that the poor poll software couldn't keep up people changing their votes and write in options, but it is just a guess.
Before it blew up, the ranked, extremely-informal results were as follows:
The Neiman Journalism Lab, a project of the Neiman Foundation at Harvard, asked us to write about the 10 biggest challenges we've faced over the last 10 years with iBrattleboro.
If you missed it, PBS MediaShift asked for a similar story on some lessons learned a couple of months ago.
For those who don’t already know this, extra features and bonus priviledges are given to those who log in to the new site. This list outlines some of the best reasons to register and log in.
1. Edit your stories, event listings, and comments. Need to make a correction? Event details change? Have an afterthought to a comment? Log in to be able to be your own editor.
2. Add Photo Fun Photos. There are more ways to contribute when you log in. Additional menu options and features become available to you. You can add Photo Fun photos.
Sooner or later, most people like to add links to their stories or comments. To make things easier for your readers it is helpful to learn to format your links. This helps you avoid really long, ugly internet addresses in the middle of your great work.
Here’s how to format a link in a story or comment on iBrattleboro:
Lise and I were asked to pen a story about the first 10 years of iBrattleboro, and lessons learned. It's up at PBS MediaShift:
Hey Everyone! According to Vermont Edition's website on VPR, Chris is going to be talking about ibrattleboro on Monday's show. Be sure to listen!
Two more site updates you’ll want to know about.
First, we fixed an issue with the Polls where someone writing in an option got two votes. No more bonus votes will be counted this way.
We’ve also fixed an issue so that people who are not logged in can vote. It was previously thanking you for your vote, but not counting it.
We’ll see how it goes. It may take a couple of polls before we’re solid, so thanks for voting and helping us test. We’ll be testing a ranked voting poll soon which is sure to confuse us all.
Second, you can now go through the archives of Ye Olde iBrattleboro to find old stories and comments. There are a few things to know, though:
Time for annother update on updates, with some reminders and birthday news thrown in for good measure.
This is a reminder that logging in brings you added features of the site. If you log in, you will see everything, and will be able to edit and keep track of your submissions much more easily. Here is our article on Logging In For The First Time, so you can retain your username.
I see in the new "Today in Local History" box (left hand column on the front page) that it was on this day in 2003 that iBrattleboro made its debut! 10 years? A decade has gone by? Do we now have a generation who don't remember when there wasn't an iBrattleboro? At any rate, Happy Birthday iBratt, with Best Wishes for many, many more!
I thought I’d give a little update on where we stand after a few days with the new site.
Overall, we’re really happy with the way things are going. You seem to be finding your way back, logging in, and using the site like before. Do fill out your user profile, and be sure to list your skills...
We’re very happy to receive your reports of problems, issues, and suggestions. We’ve solved many of them, and are continuing down the list. Next up is work on the image uploading system.
After over 46 million page views, 22 thousand stories, and 100 thousand comments on the old site, we give you a new iBrattleboro.
We hope you like it. We’ve been listening to feedback, thinking about how people use the site, and have new features to share.
Our primary goal was to keep it similar to the old site, but also to make everything better. We looked at each of the features of the old site and then for ways to improve them. You can now do repeating events with calendar submissions, add write-in votes on polls, and add images to stories, comments, and events.
We want you to log in and enjoy all the new features of the new iBrattleboro.
To accomplish the transition to the new site, we've set things up here on the new site with your username and email address.
Here are the steps to take to log in to the new iBrattleboro for the first time.
1. Click on Log in using the link in the upper right corner of the site.
Use the comments below to alert us to bugs or problems you come across while exploring the new iBrattleboro.
Please be patient, too. There are a lot of moving parts and we expect to be busy answering questions and helping people for the near future. We will get to everything as best we can.
High priority will be placed on things that are broken. Lower priority will be assigned to suggestions for improvements. All feedback is welcome and appreciated.